Conversations. Chapter 5: George Politely Declines Talkeria Invitation

invitation

From George (For Context see Chapter 3)

Dec. 20, 2016

Sam,

Geography makes this impossible.  I used to travel to Houston frequently for work, but that was a previous employer.  I expect that I would not be considered “safe” by your group.  I would defend the doctrine and teachings of the Church.  I would encourage the invited people to reconcile themselves to the prophets of God and to subject themselves to the will of their Heavenly Father like a child despite places where their opinions and understandings differ.  Your guests would not be happy to have me there.

My Response

Jan. 3, 2017

Hi George,

Oh, that darn geography.  You are probably right. Your presence might not contribute to a ‘safe’ environment.  When trying to find answers to questions and doubts, being called to repentance can be very off-putting.

Defending the doctrine and teachings of the church is absolutely permitted in the Talkeria. But, the discussions have to be totally open to examine the complete history and doctrine from all sides.

A faith crisis is often painful and lonely.  The purpose of our meetings isn’t to tell someone what decision to make or what direction to take.  Rather, it’s to listen, support, and empathize without judgment.  These are intelligent, thoughtful adults who are hurting and confused.  They’ll make the choice that is right for them and their family.  I trust them.  Those who choose to leave, I can and do support.  Those who choose to stay, I absolutely support.

The last 2 Talkerias have been dedicated to help struggling members remain active and continue to serve in their callings.  Of course, that’s what these folks desire.  The heavy weight of silence is lifted from their shoulders as they are able to talk and share openly.  At the end of the gathering one person said this, “I’m looking forward to going to church, now.”

This Thursday’s Talkeria will be much more diverse.  One person wants to stay.  One person left the church 15 years ago, but still has issues.  One couple has decided to leave.  Again, I’ve asked members to come who can relate to specific concerns that have been expressed.

George, you are selling yourself a little short.  I think you would be surprised at how well you could express love to people in all stages of testimony.  After all, we are in the Church of Jesus Christ.  His great commandment is to love.  Charity never faileth.

By the way, I plan to respond to the longer email soon.

Best Wishes for a Happy New Year,

Sam

 

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Perfect Love Casteth Out All Fear

christmas-giftStake Conference was held this weekend.  Good speakers, good music, good friends.  I even got to sit with two of my little grandkids on my lap.  They were pleasantly & constantly distracting. Never-the-less, a few pronouncements from the pulpit still managed to penetrate my mostly unfocused mind.

Then the Stake President read an earth shattering scripture!    It immediately brought me to attention.  No longer was I preoccupied by the children playing games on my lap.

Moroni 8:16—Perfect Love Casteth Out All Fear

As he quoted this scripture, the world went into slow motion.  Everything seemed to stop as the momentous meaning burst into my brain.  You see, for the past 2 years I have lived with fear.  I have witnessed others cope with fear.  I’ve seen fear spread far and wide throughout my church.  And now, here is a scripture from the most perfect book on the planet saying that perfect love must be perfectly absent.

Two Unwholesome Flavors of Fear

1)  Members who have questions & doubts are fearful to discuss them with church friends and leaders.  They’re even afraid to talk with family.  Instead, they grapple with their faith crisis in silence.  In painful solitude.  Why do they do that?  Why do they hide their concerns and excruciating journey from believing family and friends?

The prophet Mormon and my Stake President have provided the clear answer.  Where is the love that casteth out all fear?  Is it the questioning member who doesn’t have love in his heart?  Or is it the unquestioning family, friends and leaders who lack the appropriate love?  All I know, is that love is woefully lacking somewhere in the mix.  As a result, good people are forced into the closet.

2)  As a church, we are afraid to openly discuss our history, doctrine and current policies.  This stricture is enforced both by our culture and our leaders.  Why are we so afraid to talk in the light of day?  Why do we fear discussing the doubts and questions of our friends who are pondering in voiceless isolation?

Hallelujah!  Thank heavens for Moroni 8 and stake conference.  If there is fear in the church, and there is, love is the cure.

The Time Has Come

My mother resigned in August.  My siblings have mostly quit.  In the past 2 years, 5 families in my ward have left the church.  In the past 3 months, 3 couples in my stake have contacted me with stories of their terribly lonely treks.  Their faith now shattered.  Their families unaware.  Their bishop not told.  Their friends soon to be surprised.

It’s time!

It’s time to inject love…maybe even ‘perfect love’…into the mix.  We have unknown friends who are in unknown pain.  Hiding from us because we are failing to apply the charity that never faileth.

It’s time—to establish a SAFE PLACE in the church for those who doubt or question!!!

Thousands are Watching and Waiting

For 2 years, I have conversed with many, many people.  Members who have left.  Members who have resigned.  Active members whose faith has transitioned.  Active members who want to stay but are “hanging on by their finger nails.”

People have told me that they might not have left the church if there had been a safe place for discussion.  In fact, 2 wonderful people repeated that sentiment on Sunday.

We are about to celebrate what happened in that little town of Bethlehem.  At the same time, there are thousands of Mormons around the world who are anticipating what just might happen in the little town of Sugar Land.

Is there enough perfect love?

Is there enough unfailing charity?

Enough to cast out the fear that currently grips the church so tightly?

What a Christlike Christmas present it would be!!!  The gift of a safe place for our dear friends who are painfully plodding away.

 

 

 

A Compassionate Caution to My Dear Mormon Friends

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Over the past 2 years, I have seen a particular scenario play out many times. People question.  They study and ponder in silence.  They reach conclusions.  They leave.  Parents, spouse, and siblings are caught unawares.  Family rift and strain sets in.

I would love to share the following message with ALL of my adult friends at church:

Our history, our doctrine, our current policies and especially the stigma and prohibition of even discussing these matters….is coming after your children, your grandchildren, your siblings and your spouse.  The sad part is that you won’t even know it until your loved ones have been eaten up by what WE are so anxious to hide from.  

Now is the time to talk and prepare.  Now is the time to build bridges of safety, trust and understanding.  If we don’t engage the discussion here, INSIDE OUR CHAPELS, our loved ones will KNOW that it’s not safe to discuss at church or with faithful church members.  Instead, they will turn to a community where it IS safe to discuss history, doctrine and policy.  A community where there is no stigma or prohibition.  That community is populated by a small minority of faithful members and a huge majority of people who no longer believe.

I have talked to many members who have not shared their transition with their loved ones.  Especially family.  Only when the transition is complete and irreversible is their story revealed.  Today, that’s pretty much the only safe way to pursue questions and doubts.  It reflects very poorly on the culture of our church.  And that church culture permeates our families.

“The Dominant Church Narrative Is Not True”

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This, according to Dr. Richard Bushman. I have many friends who have left the church because they, also, have found out what Bushman knows. More friends are on the fence. “The dominant church narrative is NOT TRUE.”

Fireside

Dr. Richard Bushman, is a serving LDS patriarch, former stake president, historian, expert on Joseph Smith, and author of Rough Stone Rolling.  At a recent fireside, he was the featured speaker.  During the Q&A, the following exchange took place:

Questioner:  “In your view, do you see room in Mormonism for several narratives of a religious experience or do you think that in order for the Church to remain strong they would have to hold to that dominant [orthodox] narrative?”

Richard Bushman:  “I think that for the Church to remain strong it has to reconstruct its narrative.  The dominant narrative is not true;  it can’t be sustained.  The Church has to absorb all this new information or it will be on very shaky grounds and that’s what it is trying to do, and it will be a strain for a lot of people, older people especially.  But I think it has to change.”

Not True

Thank you, Richard Bushman, for validating what so many of us already know! “The dominant narrative is not true!”

We have been taught, and are still teaching, things that are untrue. Untrue = false. Teaching a known falsehood = lying.  Either way, unwittingly teaching falsehoods or lying, neither should an integral part of the “only true and living church.”

Somehow, our LDS culture has developed to where it’s improper, stigmatized, or outright forbidden to discuss “new information.” As a result, half truths and falsehoods are commonly taught. Openly discussing our history, doctrine and policies is not permitted, at least not in my locale.

It Can’t Be Sustained

So, why are we trying so hard to sustain & control our current curriculum and discussion?

I think many members are totally fine with the falsehoods in the church. For them, the false narrative feels safe. I’m OK with that.

However, there is a large and growing group of members who will not tolerate a narrative saturated with falsity.  I have joined this group.  Feeling betrayed, many have left.  Feeling betrayed, I stay.  Still committed to the church. Still committed to truth.  No longer committed to false narratives.  Life is too short.  Salvation, too precious to embrace what I & Bushman know to be false.

MoroniAll Truth Can Be Circumscribed Into One Great Whole

I now pay very close attention to the covenants and doctrines of the temple. At the end of the endowment ceremony, we are taught that “all truth can be circumscribed into one great whole.” Profound and thought provoking.  The church is violating it’s own temple instruction.  It has circumscribed falsehoods into the “great whole” and consigned much truth into hidden obscurity.

My temple covenants are more sacred to me than circumscribing a narrative that is “not true.”

Driving Members Away

I have been told that we should never discuss our true and complete history and doctrine at church.  It can cause people to lose their testimonies.

What a weird thing to say!  So, it’s better to hide the truth so that a person will continue to believe the “truth” that’s really not true?  I know that there are adults in the church who want to be treated this way.  Not this adult.  In fact, most adults would say this is not adult behavior.  “When I became a man, I put away childish things.”

I now see the other side.  Not discussing our complete history and doctrine at church is causing members to lose their testimony.  It has driven my friends right out of the LDS church. The church whose “dominant narrative is not true.”

Teaching and embracing falsehood is not good…at least, not in my neighborhood.  My church is good, it’s time to get better.

Joseph Smith IS My Hero

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Born & raised in the Mormon Church, I was taught that Joseph Smith has done more for the salvation of mankind, except for Jesus Christ.  Joseph was highly respected and revered.  Sixty-two years of my life transpired before I heard the proverbial “rest of the story.”

Over the past 2 years, I have studied, pondered, discussed & prayed……a ton. Joseph Smith had big problems. The narrative taught in the church has huge holes. At this point, I DO NOT dismiss the historical and doctrinal issues. However, the topic of this blog posting is not the challenges. Rather, the subject is just one quote from Joseph. One that I love.  I wish it were taught in the LDS Church, the very church that he founded.

My Favorite Scripture

We are taught that words from the prophets that are spoken under the direction of the Holy Spirit are scripture. To me, the following paragraph is so gorgeous that I’m taking it as inspired by the Spirit. That makes it scripture.

“We have heard men who hold the priesthood remark that they would do anything they were told to do by those who preside over them — even if they knew it was wrong. But such obedience as this is worse than folly to us. It is slavery in the extreme. The man who would thus willingly degrade himself should not claim a rank among intelligent beings until he turns from his folly. A man of God would despise this idea. Others, in the extreme exercise of their almighty authority have taught that such obedience was necessary, and that no matter what the Saints were told to do by their presidents, they should do it without any questions. When Elders of Israel will so far indulge in these extreme notions of obedience as to teach them to the people, it is generally because they have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves.” — Joseph Smith, Jr. in the Millennial Star, volume 14, number 38, pages 593-595.*

Why Do I Like This So Much?

Let me count the ways.

  1. LDS culture–follow the prophets, even when they are wrong.  JS–that is “slavery in the extreme.”
  2. If we follow leaders even when they are wrong–JS:  We “should not claim a rank among intelligent beings.”
  3. When LDS leaders say follow “no matter what” and “without any questions” they (the leaders) generally “have it in their hearts to do wrong themselves.”

Wow!  Just Wow!  Joseph Smith, you are my hero!!!  Can we print those words in the sacrament meeting program?  Every week?  Can we discuss this prophetic pronouncement out in the open in priesthood meeting?

It appears that Joseph was warning of and condemning the very culture that seems to be prevalent, today.  No wishy-washy words.  Spoken with perfect clarity.  I embrace them.  So special are these words that I’ve decided to go even further.  To obey when I know it’s wrong or to obey without question….I now classify as an unholy practice…for me.  I won’t “willingly degrade” myself.  My desire is to claim a “rank among intelligent beings.”

Of course, this is only my interpretation. I recognize that many of my friends and family believe in following without question, even if it’s wrong.  That’s OK.  It’s a path that I followed for 62 years. It’s a fine approach and consistent with our culture. I hope my friends and family will be equally non-judgmental of my approach.

THANK YOU

Even with all your problems, thank you, Joseph. You are my hero.

* There are questions about the authorship of the quote. Some have attributed it to Joseph Smith.  Some, say it was likely composed by someone else. All questions aside, there are 2 things that I “know.” 1) It was printed in a church publication, sanctioned by church authorities. 2) This quote has huge appeal to me. So, I’ve embraced an official view straight from an official church journal. I’m glad to err on the side of Joseph Smith and refer to him as my hero.

This is somewhat of a pattern for me. For example, there are some who say Jesus didn’t really exist. That the gospels were written decades after Christ’s death. That they don’t contain first hand accounts. Contradictions and other problems are easy to identify.  To me, if He is real or not doesn’t much matter. I love the teachings and example that are attributed to Jesus.  So, I’ve embraced His gospel. I’m glad to err on the side of Christ and refer to him as my Savior.

My Choice Choice

ChoicesJune – November 2014

At the tender age of 62, in June of 2014, something jolted my religious attention.  For the next six months, I was consumed with studying LDS church history and doctrine.  Literally, 3 to 5 hours were spent everyday reading, researching and ruminating.  By November, I had reached a shocking conclusion about beliefs held my entire life.  Up to that point, my spiritual knowledge had been rock solid.  It could be described as certainty.  Frequently, I had repeated the phrase “I KNOW that ________ is true.”  In fact, I “knew” that everything was TRUE about the Mormon church.

In a poignant and sobering moment, that fateful November day, I realized that I “knew” nothing.  Nothing was certain.  Confusion.  Disappointment.  Sadness.  Anger.  Loneliness.  All these emotions swept though my mind.  Other than continuing to search and study, I didn’t know what to do.  Anger continued to build.  It frightened my wife and family.  For a time, it harmed our relationship.  Of course, that was my fault.  I recognize that and have worked to correct and control the anger.

After a few attempts to discuss issues with church members, it became clear that this was not a good idea.  A loneliness started to creep in.  It appeared that I was the only person in my circle of family and friends who was traveling this path.

January 2015

In January ’15, three meaningful things occurred.
  1. Friends leaving the church.  I discovered a close friend in the ward and a sibling in far away Utah who had both quietly left the church.  They had discovered and studied the same issues.  Their conclusion was to part with Mormonism, never discussing their concerns privately with their bishop or in public with members.
  2. The Bishop encounter.  I met with the bishop.  For all intents and purposes, it did not go well.  I put on a happy face during our discussion.  But, inside I was disappointed, depressed and angry.  In defense of my bishop, he’s a friend and a great guy.  It was the first time that anyone had presented him with serious doubts.  He told me, “Sam, you are the only person who is questioning.”  Of course, by then, I knew that was inaccurate.
  3. Paul, the apostle.  I rediscovered a wonderful scripture.  It would tide me over for the next several months.  1 Corinthians 13.  This is the classic chapter describing the characteristics of charity.  But, it also contained a description of exactly what I was going through.

Paul said, “Whether there be knowledge, it shall pass away.”  Oh my goodness!  That’s just what had happened to me.  My knowledge, my certainty had just passed away.

Paul goes on, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”  Oh my goodness!  He was describing my journey from childish “knowledge” to speaking, understanding and THINKING, like a man.

 Paul continues, “For now we see through a glass, darkly.”  Oh my goodness!  I’m following in Paul’s footsteps.  For 62 years, my religion was crystal clear.  Now, clear as mud.

Paul concludes, “And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.”  This was something I could wrap my head around.  For me, certainty no longer was part of my belief system.  Why should I put my trust in ‘knowing’ when Paul teaches it will vanish.  I was determined to put my faith in faith.  My hope in hope.  And strive for charity.  But it would take another year before settling on a comfortable path comprising these three abiding gospel principles.

TempleSummer 2015

I continued to study for hours everyday.  The obsession to find answers was as unrelenting as fly paper.  By the summer of 2015, I’d decided to delve into the pinnacle of Mormonism: The temple.  Not only are the sealing ordinances at the apex of our doctrine, they are also unique in all of Christianity.  The temple experience consists of two beautiful teachings.  First, that we can be ‘sealed’ to our loved ones, with the promise that we will be with them in heaven forever.  Second, that all mankind will have the opportunity to go to heaven regardless of whether or not they had ever been taught of Jesus Christ while on earth.

These blessings are not guaranteed.  Their realization is contingent on keeping the covenants that are made in the temple.  Hence, the temple covenants become the centerpiece of what the temple is all about.  From the pulpit, encouragement to keep these preeminent promises is constantly preached.  Now at age 63, I realized that I didn’t fully understand them.  I had lots and lots of questions.  And, as I pondered, more and more covenant questions kept coming.

Over the next 3 months, I started researching.  I asked, discussed, probed.  No one, and I mean no one, had answers.  Almost without exception, as I continued to ask questions, this response would eventually rear it’s ironic head, “Sam, why do you even care?”  What???  Why do I care about what the temple covenants mean???  Really???  Initially, everybody said they understood their meaning.  With the shallowest interrogation, NOBODY had answers.

This experience was highly disappointing.  Especially, the attitude that temple covenants are not to be discussed outside of the temple.  If you have questions, you should set an appointment with the temple president.  He’ll give you the answers inside his temple office.

My observation & conclusion:  Before we make the covenants, we can’t discuss them.  We  don’t understand them when we actually make them.  After the promises are made, we can’t discuss them.  And, finally, NOBODY knows what they really mean.  If keeping our temple covenants is so vital to eternal salvation, you’d think we could & would devote tons of time to understand exactly what the heck they mean.

Fall 2015

Frustrated with my temple covenant quest, I decided to take a look at Christianity in general.  I bought books, studied online, listened to debates, and watched videos.  I LOVED much of what I heard.  Also, I was turned off by much.

Soon, it became apparent that Christian history & doctrine, along with New & Old Testament history & doctrine, contained holes, inconsistencies and unsavory elements similar to our Mormon history & doctrine.  No longer did I look down on atheists.  They had good reason to believe what they believe.

Decision Time

Through January 2016,  I was still consumed with reading, listening, and now writing.  But, my gut (my turning stomach) was telling me that enough effort had now been spent on gathering my thoughts.  It was time to trim the sail, adjust the rudder and start sailing a purposefully chosen course.

Leave the church.  Do nothing.  Stay in. Stay silent.  Embrace Christianity.  Embrace atheism.  In hindsight, I think that I already knew what I was going to choose.  But, it took another month for a clear path to emerge from the fog.

Good SamaritanThe Choice Choice Arrives

I was raised Mormon, just a few miles north of Salt Lake City.  The church, prophets, priesthood, temple, Book of Mormon and  plan of salvation had always been taken for granted as true.  I ‘knew’ they were true.  Now, I ‘knew’ nothing.  Never, ever had I considered that faith could be a choice.

It was February 2016, at the tender age of 63, when the choice opportunity had presented itself.  The choice chance to choose for myself.  I was free to think as an adult.  Finally, as a rational man, I had put away childish things.

My decision:  Follow Jesus Christ, both his teachings and example.  How could I not select this path?  To me, it has divine appeal.
  • The Good Samaritan.
  • The Golden Rule.
  • Leave the 99 for the 1.
  • When you have done it unto the least of these.
  • The Prodigal Son.
  • Reaching out to the marginalized, the hopeless, the helpless.
  • Standing up to the proud & powerful, including the church leaders of his time.
  • Standing up for the poor, the sick, the weak, including those rejected by the church leaders of his time.
  • Finally, He had paid the infinite price necessary to bring EVERYBODY home.

My choice choice is to follow the lowly son of a carpenter.  The humble & homeless teacher, who had nowhere to lay his head.  He came from and lived at the margins of society.  His focus was ministering to the marginalized.

I have chosen to follow Jesus in the Church of Jesus Christ.  The church that has been my home for 63 years.  The institution to which I have dedicated much blood, sweat, tears, time & treasure.  The church is not perfect.  Far from it.  But, I and my family have derived significant benefit from our membership.  I love the church.  I love Jesus more.

Change???

This may not sound like a faith transition.  For me, it is a cataclysmic change.  I have chosen to follow Jesus.  Although, I am a member of the church, I recognize that the institution is not my salvation.  I listen to the prophets.  They are good men.  Men selected by my Savior. But, they are men.  My Lord has instructed me to not put my trust in the arm of flesh.  In my past life, I had fallen victim to worshiping the prophets.  I hung on their every word, willing to believe and obey all directions flowing from their lips.  Today, I put my trust in Christ, willing to follow the church leaders when they align with the directions flowing from Him.

It turns out, this path is more difficult than expected.  I’ve encountered unexpected push-back. That’s OK, because this path is working for me.

Does Jesus really exist?  I don’t know.  ‘Certainty’ is no longer important to me.  I don’t view it as a principle of His gospel.  Rather,  His touching teachings and eloquent example beckon me to follow.

Dancing with Jesus

Tango Dancers

Thirty-nine years ago, I accomplished the impossible:  I graduated as a single male from BYU.  Very rare back in 1977.  Relatively common today.

I moved to Houston with no wife in tow.  Young LDS singles being sparse, I was constantly on the look-out for a future spouse.  City wide dances were held every couple of months. Prime occasions to meet someone cute and available.  I don’t think I ever missed a dance. Within 1 1/2 years, I was married to my sweetheart. Singles dances faded into the distant past.

Odd Behavior

During those long-ago dances, I observed a rather interesting ritual.  There was a particular single man who attended regularly.  I’ll call him John.  He always brought a date.  The very same date.  I think they were engaged.

John followed a predictable pattern.  As the evening progressed he would only dance a couple of times with his delightful & dependable companion.  However, he danced every song…..with a different girl!  He was pretty picky and chose carefully who he asked.  You see, back then, there were girls who could count on dancing all night.  And….then, there were girls who could only hope.  Of course, these women were not deficient….in any way!  They may have been a bit different, but not deficient, defective, or discardable.  Never-the-less, there they were, lining the walls, filling a chair.  These are the women with whom John chose exclusively to dance the night away.

A Parable

Fast forward almost 40 years.  I didn’t see it at the time.  Maybe John didn’t either.  But, I see now that he was…..Dancing with Jesus.

One of my favorite spiritual teachings is found in Matthew 25.

34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:

36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?

39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

“Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least, ye have done it unto me.”  What a drop-dead gorgeous, tear-in-the-eye, teaching!  One of the mainstays for me choosing to follow Christ.

Back to John.  The women he chose to dance with certainly were not the “least” in most situations.  But, for some reason, that evening, they were the “least” in the cultural hall. Literally, they were at the margins.  Isn’t that the hallmark of Jesus’ ministry?  Reaching out to those marginalized by society?   John was Dancing with Jesus.

Over the years, I have often thought about the concept of the “least of these.” Occasionally, I’ve attempted to implement it.  At this point, I’d like to Dance with Jesus way more often.

The Least

So, who are the “least” around us, today?  Who are the modern lepers?  There are two groups that I think fit this category and that I want to actively reach out to.  They are not deficient or defective in any way!  They may be different.

Rainbow Ribbon

Group 1:  LGBT

For most of my life, society and the Mormon church have viewed gay people in much the same way as lepers were viewed in Christ’s time. They have been the poster child of marginalization.  Fortunately, our society is progressing.  Perceptions and understandings are changing for the better.  However, gay adults and children still face a very difficult road in the LDS community.  Parents and siblings also face daunting challenges.

I’ve decided to Dance with Jesus through my beloved gay brothers and sisters.  You are my friends.  I have your back.  I love you.

ThinkingGroup 2:  Faith Transitioned Mormons

Until the past couple of years, I would have never considered this a marginalized group.  I didn’t even know they existed.  Naive and sheltered was I.  No more.  I have personally witnessed the pain, anguish, and alienation of many members whose faith has been challenged by history and doctrine that seem to have been hidden and obfuscated by the very top church leaders.

Questioning, transitioning or transitioned members have no safe place within the church to discuss and work through their issues.  Rather, they are frequently judged as prideful, lazy, sinful or desiring to sin.  Often they FEEL alone and shunned.  Often they ARE alone and shunned.

So, I am now Dancing with Jesus through my good transitioning brothers and sisters.  You are dear friends.  I have your back.  I love you, no matter what path you choose.

Clueless?

Do I know exactly what I’m doing or how to do it?  Nope.  Will I stub my toes?  Will I step on someone’s feet?  Yep.  When I first started my ballroom hobby, I had 2 left feet.  After lots of work, I’ve advanced to: ½ right foot and 1 ½ left.  Progress!  In this new dance, I’m pretty sure I can count 3 left feet.  But, I’m Dancing with Jesus.  He led the leper.  He’ll lead me.

Now, on to Dancing with Jesus.