My husband and I resigned our LDS Church membership last month. Should I get rebaptized?

Dear AMG:

I find myself traveling a wildly confusing path. My husband has taught seminary for the Church since the day we graduated from BYU. The first week of August this year, he resigned his position after we both realized the orthodox approach to religion we’d both so publicly preached and represented was full of holes and a good many fallacies.

A week after his resignation went through, we resigned from the Church. We did this quickly, stemming from a desire for integrity. We’d always stood for that which we believed, we didn’t want the youth taught and nurtured by our example feeling confused in any way by our obvious lack of attendance at church. Two weeks later, in the throes of absolute torment, in a place somewhere between asleep and awake, I feel God offered me connections that clearly taught the power of some of the Church’s teachings. I woke with a clear realization that we’d done wrong in completely cutting ourselves off from the Church. So, this week, we are packing the house and moving from beautiful Colorado Springs to the great basin of Utah to get our children close to family and try to sort some of this faith transition out.

We’ve met with general authorities, bishop, and stake president, all of whom want to see us rebaptized as soon as possible. In one breath, we want to do it. We want to please all of these good people around us whom we love so dearly. In the very same breath, we hesitate. Because we’re not the same. We don’t believe the same. We may not ever want to return to garment-wearing, temple attending life. But, there’s not a darned thing we want to change as far as our lifestyle. We believe in all of the teachings of the church that fully support a strong moral code (excepting a few, like the current views & politics toward the LGBT community). We want our children to love and embrace all of the good of their LDS heritage. Heck, we even want them to be baptized members of the church (if they so desire, and even this choice is becoming a struggle for our 13-year old, who struggles immensely with so many of the concepts of the church which seem to entirely defy current scientific understandings). So, our question is, do we hurry and rebaptize everyone to right the hasty decision we made to resign from the Church? Do we return to the temple as ones who see so much good in the Church, while still not fully believing in many of the ordinances (and maybe prophets and maybe even the actual historicity of the Book of Mormon?) And I don’t even know where to START in what to teach my children about some of the doctrines, though I hope so entirely they’ll be able to accept and love all of the good, beautiful, truly inspiring aspects of our church/ethnicity/history.

MD


Dear MD:

Let me get this straight: in the last seven weeks, your husband and you have

• Resigned his job as a seminary teacher
• Resigned from the Church
• Met with general and local Church authorities
• Planned to move your family of six to Utah
• Had powerful spiritual experiences
• Considered rebaptism

Seven weeks! Sweet MD, you are definitely in the whirlwind. Most people take a lifetime to cover that much ground. Seven weeks! Seriously!

I love the energy and integrity-seeking spirit of your letter. I do understand the impulses that led you to resign your membership. I’ve met lots of people raised to be utterly honest and truth-seeking Mormons who resign or break contact with the Church once they encounter some of difficult and complex aspects of Mormon history or find they can no longer maintain a literal approach to Mormon scripture and doctrine. A few invert the sharply black-and-white worldview they held as orthodox Mormons and become equally absolutist non-Mormons. Some never get beyond the rigidly black-and-white thinking they were taught as kids. Others develop greater humility, patience, and tenderness.

And that, my dear, is the point. Oftentimes the how matters just as much as the what. And the new how of your faith life is that you are now taking responsibility for creating a spiritual life on your own terms, not because it’s what you were taught, not because you feel compelled, but out of love, hope, and longing, because you actually want a connection with your Mormon identity and community. You’re right when you say you will never be the same as you once were. “When I was a child, I understood as I child,” said the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Corinthians. “And then I read Mormon Enigma and everything changed.” Okay, Paul didn’t say that last part, but it remains true that life sends us circumstances that can change everything. And the changes can be bewildering and overwhelming.

Slow down. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. We are here to learn by experience, and you need time to reflect and process experience. I’m not saying you should take forever to be rebaptized if that’s where the Spirit (and your heart) is leading you. I am saying that given all you’ve been through in the past seven weeks—I mean, really, seven weeks!–it would be safe to give yourself at least a few weeks more to sort this out, prayerfully, calmly, searchingly, so that you can take these first new steps in your independent spiritual life with a proper sense of peace and power. As for the other questions, about temple attendance, and your children, and the whole Mormon enchilada, you know what the scriptures say: “Line upon line, precept on precept.” Step by step. It will come to you. With each new step forward into the dark, a spot of light will appear. The spot may be small. It may take a while to materialize. It may be big enough for just you alone. But it will happen. Promise. Give it time. Breathe in. Breathe out.

And when you get to Utah, don’t hesitate to look up your local Mormon Stories support community. There are lots of Mormons like you who want to identify as Mormons even as they pass through faith transition and into post-literal forms of belief and practice. The Mormon story is a story about seeking. Your willingness to take brave bold steps in your search for truth is reason enough for me to claim you as my Mormon sister, no matter what your membership status is. And if you do decide to get rebaptized, I’ll be right there celebrating with you.

Readers, who has a word of advice or encouragement for MD? Have you been to the other side of a faith transition?

Follow @askmormongirl, or send your queries to askmormongirl@gmail.com.

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48 Comments

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48 responses to “My husband and I resigned our LDS Church membership last month. Should I get rebaptized?

  1. mark england

    I thought your statement about being black and white in the church is the same as being black and white out of the church. Most peoole who can’t handle the inconsistencies of the church wont be any happier anywhere else. Show me one single organization, belief system, political party, or way of life that isn’t full of inconsistencies, mystery, human error and meddling. WE haven’t given up on democracy just because the republicans are trying to destroy this country. God does the best job he can with humans, some of which are doing the best job they can. Just because He is patient with the fallible people he gives His message to doesn’t make it less true. I find it ironic that many people are intolerant of the church’s attitude about intollerance and weakness in itself.

  2. jenniferpl239

    I loved your repsonse to MD. I can relate to some of her journey. I stopped attending church for 15 years because I had begun to feel as if I could not attend with integrity. Like MD my actual lifestyle was very similar to my mormon friends but I no longer could embrace so much of the doctrine and what I felt was the superior attitude (unwittingly superior attitude) of the members. Despite many good things in my life while away from the church I was left with a loneliness for the church and connectedness to my past that came with it.

    Good advise Joanna, good luck on journey MD.

  3. courtney

    I’ve been going through a major faith transition the last six years, and part of the problem for me is that black and white attitude in the church– you’re either all the way in or all the way out. I have gone back and forth trying to get the courage to leave (because I just can’t be 100%), but I can’t leave it all behind. There are things I believe, and there is such a rich heritage, but how do I stay a member and feel authentic and honest? It’s been in just the last 6 months or so that I have allowed myself to freely live in the gray area. I am not planning on leaving the church right now, but I also don’t pressure myself to attend every week. I don’t attend the temple anymore, and I wear garments when I want to (which, at this point is more often than not). Obviously this is an unorthodox attitude, but I have felt so much more at peace lately just allowing myself to do whatever makes me comfortable. The world is not black and white. Take time to allow yourself to live in the gray so you can really start to understand what you believe and how you feel about everything. It takes time and patience– don’t rush anything, and just allow yourself to figure it out slowly.

    • Shelly

      Love this. I “lived in the grey” for a good two years, allowed myself to go to church when I wanted, and am starting to figure things out. Starting. In this time, I realized with any religion there will be principles I struggle with. That’s the beauty of personal revelation and inspiration – it’s personal. Make it yours.

  4. Geoff S

    Joanna is right about “slowing down.”. These are big decisions and should not be rushed. You’ve already made hasty decisions so it’s time to slow down. At the same time it’s important to know that the “quick” decisions are very tied to emotional reactions. sometimes that’s good because there’s parts of our emotional/animal brains that “know” more than our logical brain. But it’s time to slow down and figure out which is which.
    There’s no need to rush to get rebaptized. The church will always be glad to take you back I’d that’s what you decide.
    I’d encourage you to not get rebaptized or go to the temple if you can’t answer the interview questions truthfully. For example, if they ask you if Joseph smith was a prophet and you’re not sure or you think he wasn’t then you should answer truthfully. If you need to lie to the church or to yourself to participate then I think you still need to wait. Would you want your children to lie? Would god want his/her own children to lie?
    The journey out of the church was difficult for me and my wife, but we’re grateful not to be raising our daughter in the church. Most of our family members who didn’t want us to leave the church have also now left, too.
    I wish peace to you and your family as you work through these difficult decisions.

  5. Kevin Barney

    For what it’s worth, I personally think it’s a fallacy to think that moving to Utah is going to help. If anything, it’s likely to make things worse, because the church is more all-encompassing there, you can’t escape it, and there is sometimes a more intense church culture there. I served some of my mission in Colorado Springs, and the idea that living in Utah itself as opposed to C. Springs is somehow going to help or make things better is in my view a fallacy. I’ve known lots of people who moved to Utah thinking it was what their children needed, and it was not the good they intended it to be.

    • Christine Sieck

      If you haven’t moved to Utah yet, I would advise you NOT to move. My husband and I were active members of the church for 30 years at the point of getting transfered to Utah. We had to endure such a painful 6 1/2 year experience with the “Culture” of the memebers in Utah that we couldn’t get out of there fast enough. My husband, myself and 3 of my 4 daughters are all not active because of the unchristian way we were treated there. I would never move back there ever. We have not been active for 15 years now, have gone through some major well thought of faith transitions and are very happy here in Colorado Springs. We still have contact with the church (ie visiting teachers and home teachers), we still love some things about the church, but we do not believe in black and white anymore and I would advise you MD to take a year or two or more to think things out. Search your soul like never before. Read books and talk to people who are not hateful about the church but can understand where you are coming from. I assure you either way you decide (going back to church or staying out) that you will be happier than you have ever felt because you searched in your way. I never left Heavenly Father and my Lord, I only enhanced my soul and continue growning spiritually each and every day, without someone else telling me what to read and how to understand it. I send you my peace and love. C

      • Scott

        Christine–

        And to those who have been inactive for a long time, one of the most important things that we sometimes miss out on is that God has truly called prophets and apostles today. They live. They roam the earth. They receive clear and direct communication that is universally applicable. I’ve been reading the Old Testament with my wife, and we’re in Numbers. To this point, seeing how the people reject Moses, and, in turn, the Lord, by wanting to do things according to their own desires, has been really enlightening. The people harden their hearts, and turn away even though the Lord is calling them to come. He constantly invites.
        It’s even more clear in the Book of Mormon. If you read it, it’s easy to observe that over and over and over, despite the complaining, and falling away and pride and sin of people (small or large), there’s always the invitation to return, and it comes from the mouth of those called by God.
        If you’ve been inactive for 15 years, my guess ( and certainly I could be wrong ) is that you’ve missed about 300 hours of general conference, in addition to over a hundred Ensigns, CES broadcasts, devotionals, and nearly three dozen stake conferences, at least one or two of which would have had words from an Apostle, I’m sure. You may even not have taken advantage of daily dabbling into the Book of Mormon. If we’re invited to “Feast Upon the Words of Christ” in the Book of Mormon, your soul is very very hungry.
        Well, in case you don’t hear it another way, here’s an invitation from one of God’s servants to return. It’s true, and they’re spoken with a lot of love.

        All that said, I hope my comments are taken with love. Truly. I’m no one special, and never will be. I came across this searching for something entirely different (trying to figure out what my ward number is), but I wanted to share that truth with you. The invitation is from Jesus Christ. He wants you to return and receive every blessing. He wants you to choose to rise above offense (even when merited). He has called 15 men to be special witnesses of Him. He loves you, and knows that you, just like me, and like every one of those 15 men, and every mortal walking this earth, needs as much help getting back to our God as we can get.
        Have a lovely day, when and if you come across this. :)
        -Scott

  6. I live “in” Utah county, but not “of” Utah county. I attend church and consider my membership as a “Spirit side of the Law” mormon, very sacred. It became so, when I took on the practice of yoga and began developing a yoga community in Provo, through my teaching over 10 years ago. I found soooo many with the same conflicts and questions, who sought me out; while maintaining a sincere love for the restored gospel of Jesus Christ. To my astonishment, I was attracting mormons and people outside the culture in Provo (mormon and not), who have come together in a community of acceptance and diversity within the basis of a broad and healthy Spirituality.

    I had to ask myself: “Just because I find truth and Spiritual fulfillment other places, do I let that increase my intolerance for others who limit themselves to the letter of the law worship and practice?” It has turned out to be a profound practice in tolerance as I raise a son (now 14) with in the church, while teaching him my personal, deep, spiritual beliefs about truths that are so all encompassing that they surpass religious dogma. It is a sweet experience and has increased my love both for the Gospel, Jesus Christ (and many hidden messages many still have yet to learn about the reality of who He is), and all truths everywhere.

    I found myself in conversation with breast cancer diagnosed six months ago and have received so much love and support from my yoga community and from so many with in the mormon church I, at one point or another, judged harshly as intolerant, who I now understand as loving spectators of my non-traditional approach to my religion. I’m still learning so many beautiful lessons about the capacity of both myself and others who choose membership in the Mormon Church…all for different reasons.

    Sending you many blessing and much peace on your journey!

  7. Duane

    My faith transition isn’t nearly as “drastic;” I choose to continue to be active and fulfill my callings, and at this point I can pretty much say I always will.

    I’m a science geek. I’ve never had any problem accepting as factual the fundamental, bedrock theories that describe our physical universe, whether they come from biology, geology or cosmology. But I grew up with people who told me that the Earth is 6,000 years old (give or take), that a worldwide flood put the tops of our highest peaks under water (no geological or biological evidence for either, sorry), and that Adam and Eve were literally our first parents.

    Luckily, at BYU, I was taught evolution as fact, and that the very latest cosmological data puts the age of the universe at around 15 billion years old (this was in the early 1990’s, and further observations have narrowed the age to 13.72 billion years, =/- 100myr). I don’t know what I would have done if ANY form of Creationism was taught in these secular subjects.

    The Church has stated in so many words that science and faith are separate (shades of Stephen Jay Gould), but it would have been nice if some GA would have stood up in General Conference and repudiated some of the pseudoscientific nonsense that was taught, occasionally officially, from the pulpit. I occasionally get into arguments with relatives (a few of which have gone to medical school) about these issues, and according to them, my understanding of science puts makes me unworthy to enter the temple (I have since stopped talking to them)(about anything)(at all).

    These days, in my more thoughtful southern California ward, I don’t hear these conflicts arise. We simply teach the Gospel in its purest form. And if I encounter someone in my ward, or an odd statement in a manual, that goes against what I know scientifically accurate, I shrug and move on. After all, the people who make up the general population of the Church, as well as the leadership, are people more or less like me. Science has shown me that.

    If I may end my spiel by quoting noted astronomer and director of the Hayden Planetarium Neil DeGrasse Tyson:
    “We are all connected:
    To each other, biologically;
    To the Earth, chemically;
    To the rest of the Universe, atomically.”
    (And my little bit here: )
    To our Heavenly Father, spiritually,
    through the Atonement of Christ.

    And that’s all that matters.

    • I am an LDS, married in the temple. I also find it hard to reconcile what I know of science and what the church teaches, especially of creation. I believe in evolution and the only way I can reconcile my scientific understanding with my beliefs is to look at some aspects of church teachings with metaphorical view; such as the creation, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge. I see the partaking of the fruit as an evolutionary step, even though that is not what is taught at church. I like Einstein’s quote. “Religion without science is blind. Science without religion is lame”. Everything fits together somehow.

      • Jason

        Remember Mark the official stance of the church on evolution is …The church has no official stance on evolution however God created man and Adam was the first man. That is it. The rest is speculation and opinion. So enjoy studying and learning all truth wherever it may come from. BTW I am a very active scientist, high priest.

  8. Ellen

    I love Joanna’s advice. I’ll just add two cents: Do you know people who aren’t deep thinkers? Life is so much easier for them. I’ve decided to take a lesson or two from them.

    Dumb story: I attended my niece’s temple wedding. My sister-in-law, Anne, the grandmother, and great grandmother were all there with us in the temple. I learned the next week that Anne drinks coffee on occasion. She told me her mother and grandmother have always enjoyed it now and then, and so does my niece. I was thinking WHOOAH! Anne just laughed, “Well, I don’t drink cola all day long like some people.” Anne wasn’t troubled a bit by holding a temple recommend. I was completely fascinated and amused by the whole thing. Anne just enjoys the church and doesn’t over analyze everything. She’s a great person and felt worthy to go to the temple. Good for her! That was my dumb story.

    Like you, I can’t turn off my need to analyze, criticize the illogical, question truthfulness, and have some church angst. I did decide to chill out a bit though. I’m no longer taking an all-or-nothing approach to the church. There are too many problems (homophobia, gender equality, polygamy) to embrace every last bit of it. Yet, I feel it offers me and my children so many good teachings. I highly recommend Cafeteria Mormonism without guilt (if that’s possible). Also, utilize the comradery on the blogernacle if you don’t know like-minded members. It always feels good to know there are many others with similar struggles.

    • nick

      I liked your reply. I go with “99% of things really don’t matter and are not worth worrying about.” I literally beleive this principle/idea and apply it whenever I start worrying about things. This applies the best when worrying about what others think. Really 99% of things we worry about either never come true or we have no control over them. It’s too easy! I am not saying to be an ambivalent apathetic do-nothing; just saying spend your worry on what you can effect.

  9. Ryan

    I feel for you MD–I’ve been going through a faith transition for a little over a year now. I would recommend listening to the episode of the Mormon Expression podcast “mistakes were made: hot (not) to leave the church”. The one piece of advice that they gave that has been most useful to me is the same as Joanna gave: slow down. Make changes on the scale of months or years instead of days or weeks, including rebaptism.

    The other thing that has helped was going to a (non-Mormon) couselor or therapist. That helped me a lot in sorting through fact and emotion, and helped me to begin figuring out my beliefs in a healthy way instead of reacting to my feelings of betrayal and anger.

    All the best in this difficult transition in your life

  10. Steven

    We need more people like you in the church. We need people who appreciate the church for creating a community and giving structure and order to people’s lives, but who support gay rights, take liberal doctrinal stances, and promote the church more as a community-based humanitarian organization rather than a propaganda machine. I attend the church weekly, pay a full tithe, do my home teaching regularly, and go to the temple once a month. However, I define myself more as a cultural Mormon. I support making gay marriage legal (and would also support gay temple marriages if the day ever comes), I favor the idea that the Book of Mormon is a nineteenth century text that was probably entirely written by Joseph Smith himself, and disagree with several policy and doctrinal stances that the church leaders take. They are fallible people liable to error in their decision-making, but I believe them to be, like many religious leaders, of sound morals and of good heart. I think that they genuinely believe what they are telling people and have helped enhance the lives of many through their words and actions. I appreciate the LDS community for what it is and hope to help contribute to it through acts of service and kindness. Likewise I believe that its members and leaders have much to teach us through their words and examples, even if they aren’t historically well-informed.

    • Jason

      Steven with all due respect anyone who thinks that the Book of Mormon is a nineteenth century text written by Joseph Smith either does not know nineteenth century texts or ancient texts for that matter. The Book of Mormon is literally filled with Hebraisms that Joseph would not have had access to. The chiasma poems found in the text are truly remarkable. It would have been simply impossible to “write” the Book of Mormon in the few months it took to translate it and it certainly would have been impossible to translate it at that pace without divine help. Emma Smith herself said it would have been difficult for a learned man to write the Book of Mormon but for Joseph is was simply impossible. Stop living with one foot in the world while trying to put one foot in the kingdom of God. The Book of Mormon is absolutely what it claims to be, a collection of scriptural writings by ancient prophets in America. As far as the gay marriage issue you either have an agenda or you do not understand the plan of salvation. Gay marriage has never been nor will it ever be part of that plan and you are fooling yourself if you think it ever will be just as adultery or fornication will never be either. I appreciate your honesty and desire to remain in the church and I pray that you will be able to read, study and pray about the Book of Mormon and gain a testimony of it’s truthfulness.

      • Duderad

        pssst….you’re bigotry, anti-intellectuallism, small mindedness, and general lack of knowledge on historical issues are showing

      • Scott

        Well Stated Jason. Anyone who has been temple married, or read “The Family: A Proclamation to the World” knows that it could not be in the mind of God to allow homosexual marriages in temples. We are commanded to multiply and replenish the earth when properly married. It is a command that remains in force. A union that cannot produce children is a union that does not exist beyond the grave.

  11. I read the post and the comments and see such a broad scope of human experience. Every life is full of black, white, and a wash-basin of grey big enough to build a world around. Now I know that the boundaries between black and white often develop around the words and acts of entirely imperfect individuals throughout the church structure. And I know all too well the pitfalls of doctrine that seem so perfectly adapted to us individually that it’s like we build up a lifetime just for that moment of inevitable collapse. It is very frustrating.

    These eternal crossroad moments are made all the more critical because of the children watching and following our steps. They choose their own way, but only from the locations to which we’ve led them through example and teaching.

    Now with our veiled perspectives that cannot yet see around the bends up ahead, we decide which prompts to follow forward. I’m just one voice among many, but when I look for the hand of a loving Heavenly Father in your experience, I see it here:

    “I feel God offered me connections that clearly taught the power of some of the Church’s teachings.”

    And then again here,

    “I woke with a clear realization that we’d done wrong in completely cutting ourselves off from the Church.”

    Contrasted with the confusion and quick succession of your initial decisions, that clarity and feeling are very precious anchors. They are like getting your bearings when the stars first break through a thick haze. I know the disorientation of spiritual storm clouds where everything once seemed so clear. Despite my imperfect walk, and even though I’ve been tossed around plenty along the way, I owe everything I hold most dear and precious in life to a loving Heavenly Father who never left me guessing when it mattered most. I promise you that the hand of God is in your experience as well. Trust Him. Feel after Him, and find Him. Feelings have been promised as guideposts along your way.(Galatians 5:22-23)
    1 Corinthians 2:5, Acts 17:27, Ether 6:3, Ether 12:6, Alma 32:35-37

  12. Kurt

    MD,

    A dislike for orthodoxy, and coming to the conclusion that I was gay have driven me slowly from the church. I read a book which compared Christianity, buddhism, islam and hinduism. I was stunned at the time to realize that the same principles were found in each, and beautifully expressed. I believe in God, and know that there is truly a guiding force to this universe. I seek for the good in all things, and so, have basically gone to a more cafeteria form of mormonism. But don’t be surprised if living in Utah is very hard on you and your thoughts of coming back to the church, especially if you choose to locate in “suburban” Utah.

  13. Bill

    Living in Utah is probably the worst thing you could do. I know many people who have felt a great sense of relief after moving from Utah to “the mission field.” I for one have lived in both places and could never raise my family in Utah. Someone once said (It was either a Mormon Stories or a Mormon Matters discussion) that Mormonism works best as a minority religion and I heartily endorse that point of view.

  14. Becca

    I just wanted to add that I am grateful for the advice given here. I am on the other side of the coin. I am investigator of the Church, married into a Mormon family (but not a Mormon husband, long story) and have felt the calling of the Church for some time now. I love so much of the Gospel, and the teachings speak to my heart in a lot of ways. But like so many here, there are other things that I have not been able to reconcile with my own mind, and it has made the choice whether or not to convert an incredibly difficult one. I have been leaning toward getting baptized into the Church for awhile now, but have had a hard time working up the nerve, because I know that while I have come to love the gospel and the community I have found, there are things that I don’t think I will ever agree with. But the people here have reminded me that I don’t have to be a perfect Mormon to find community and seek the Spirit. I can be a liberal, science-minded, geeky woman and be a Mormon, too. Like Joanna said, “Line upon line, precept upon precept”. Baby steps. :)
    Thanks so much!

  15. TaterTot

    I love your response Joanna. I really needed to hear this today. My own faith-walk has had some big bumps in it lately, and it’s nice to hear someone be so welcoming and accepting of those of us who don’t have literal belief. Thanks again for a wonderful response.

  16. Joanna, you ARE an inspired woman. Thanks for making my day.

  17. Tricia

    These questions, Joanna’s answers, and the additional comments are so very helpful to me. I am returning to the church after a 40 yr. absence. I left in part because of the church’s opposition to the ERA and the excommunication of Sonia Johnston. I return after much spiritual searching and God bringing me a wonderful Mormon man into my life. However, I find it very difficult (impossible?) to be as literal as some about many issues. And ironically I don’t feel as strong a connection to God since reclaiming my Mormon self. Duane’s ending poem put some things into perspective for me. I also realize that returning to that deeper connection to God and feeling worthy there is the most important thing I can do. Thank you all!

  18. William B.

    I’ve heard it over and over again like this,
    “Cling to the things you know, not to the things you don’t”

    No one knows everything and the mankind-run-institutionalized-Gospel is no exception. Whenever I find myself facing an apparent inconsistency, I am taken back to my personal and very real witnesses of the pillars of the LDS faith, Joseph Smith, the Book of Mormon and Jesus as the Christ. These things I know by real experiences through the Holy Ghost.

    I read this personal essay about learning with the mind and heart in a troubled young student in BYU’s alumni magazine and it rang very familiar to me. I wish you the best in finding the spiritual peace you deserve and seek.

    http://magazine.byu.edu/?act=view&a=2823

  19. Shelly

    These comments make me so happy. To see people being genuine and honest, and no one bickering about who’s right. It makes me so happy to see that someone else thinks the way I do. That I’m not apostate because I am a thinker. I recently moved from Utah to Southern California, and the transition has been so great in regards to my experience with church. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  20. Allen

    Six blind men were asked to determine what an elephant looked like by feeling different parts of the elephant’s body. The blind man who feels a leg says the elephant is like a pillar; the one who feels the tail says the elephant is like a rope; the one who feels the trunk says the elephant is like a tree branch; the one who feels the ear says the elephant is like a hand fan; the one who feels the belly says the elephant is like a wall; and the one who feels the tusk says the elephant is like a solid pipe. Each man is convinced his perspective of the elephant is the “true” perspective and all others are false. However, each man perspective makes complete sense (is true) for him at that moment in time.
    Your perspective as a true believing Mormon made sense at that moment in time. Your perspective now as a ex-mormon makes sense at this moment in time. Give yourself plenty of time to sort out what your perspective is now.
    When I left the Church my perspective changed a dozen different times and it is still changing. Eventually I learned there is no right or wrong perspective, there are just perspectives. At some point in the future I want to get to a point where I embrace all perspectives but am not attached to any of them.

    Allen

  21. David T.

    I believe that it is important to know that inconsistencies with in the Church of Jesus Christ have been around since the time of Peter (Remember the gentile or circumcision issues during the Jerusalem Conference?) Fortunately for revelation to Christ’s witnesses such inconsistencies don’t last forever. But, more importantly, such perceived inconsistencies do not determine the truthfulness of this gospel any more it did back then. It is also important to know that even John Taylor and Brigham Young faced certain spiritual crisis in their own time and just like MD, they prayed about it, and received answers in order to maintain faithfulness. I am fortunate to get to read this MD’s account along with theirs. She really strengthens my testimony.

  22. Your either in all the way or you are out as it were…there is no middle ground. You either embrace all of your religion and it’s beliefs are aligned with yours or you do not. One cannot just cherry pick what they want to align themselves with and disregard what they don’t in the LDS religion, it is not just a lifestyle it is a complete set of beliefs.

    • Jenna

      I respectfully disagree. I have been LDS all my life, but there are things that the church does that I don’t 100% agree with. I would never vote against Gay Marriage, for example. I feel as though God has given us our Agency and we have been promised that He will never take it away. Why are we as man trying to take away the agency of others?

      While I don’t agree with the Church’s stance, I try to look at their purpose, which is upholding the family unit in the way that God designed. I can understand and appreciate that. But I feel that puts me in middle ground.

      I do not, and probably will never agree with 100% of the teachings in the Church. However, I do know with certainty that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is God’s Church. He wants us to return to him. And I will do all I can. Even if I do stand in middle ground in some areas.

      • Tricia

        Thanks Jenna. I really appreciate your perspective. Returning to the church after a decades absence, I’m trying to figure out if I can be true to the church but not agree with everything. You’ve answered my question with your experience.

    • Jason

      I respectfully disagree modonnacramer. First off the official beliefs of the church are found in the scriptures and when a new revelation is received for the church is must come through the living prophet first, then be sustained by the first presidency, the quorum of the twelve and then be presented to the church as a whole. There are many opinions and beliefs taught by leaders and members that are not official doctrine of the church. I do agree that you either need to be in or out, for the kingdom or God or against it, hot or cold. However that does not mean we do not have our own personal agency and the right to discover truths for ourselves. I do however sustain President Monson as the prophet, sear and revelator and the only man on earth who can exercise all priesthood keys.

  23. Chris

    Personally, I’m in the middle of a life transition. Growing up, being a member of the Church was a shelter that protected me from abuse at home. I loved the Church and served a mission. But somewhere along the line, I felt like I didn’t relate anymore. These feelings weren’t helped when I later realized that I was gay.

    I haven’t been to church in years and I don’t feel a need to go back. But at the same time, I can’t reject what the Church meant to me. It made me feel alive, loved, and I felt like I had a very personal relationship with my Heavenly Father. I get angry about how the Church treats its gay and lesbian members, but I still keep my old garments and temple clothes hidden away and I’m still a member on the roll.

    I may come back later or not. But I can never forget, nor purge the part of me that was Mormon. And I wouldn’t want to. But I do know that no matter what, my Heavenly Father loves me and I will be satisfied with how things will work out in the end. And that’s all I need for now.

    • Jason

      You are right. The most important point is that Heavenly Father loves you and each of us individually regardless of our imperfections and He loves us enough to let us know when things that we are doing are wrong and that we need to give them up. Sometimes that hurts I pray that you and all of us will give up all of our imperfections so that we may one day hear, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” May the Lord bless you and help you.

  24. Linda Favrholdt

    Thank you for all your comments. I have been a member for 26 years. Recently I resigned my membership from the LDS Church after researching the early history of the Church through the Church Historical Society and reading the Mormon Enigma. I experienced a surprising change to my conversation story and my testimony has never been the same. This has been devastating emotionally. I know people and things are not perfect but for me I truly believed this was the pure perfect Church in the world. I believed all that the missionaries taught me. Over a period of 3 weeks I was extremely depressed. Crying every day as I was torn between truth and deception. I finally contacted my Branch President and have recently returned to the LDS Church. I am trying to prayerfully understand the Gospel and the Church doctrine and how the work together. I attend church and have returned to my calling; however, I am not the same person anymore. The change is not something that other members notice but I know that I am no longer able to testify the way I used to. I am not sure if this will ever improve or if I will one day resign again or simply slip away. MD I understand your comments and wish you all the best with your decision.

  25. Luna

    I’m not one to for good advice, but every time I read someone else’s struggles with their faith, it gives me comfort… That realization… “Oh, I’m not the only one.”

  26. Nate

    I agree with Mormon Girl on the need to slow down, but that doesn’t necessarily mean take longer. It’s something on the inside. Listen to your own words:

    “I woke with a clear realization…”

    That line is music. That is the clearing of clouds through what had been a crazy flurry of decisions. It’s pure gold from a loving Heavenly Father who, in the very moment of your desperate need, penetrated to your heart and mind a clear course. That much can be grasped with renewed conviction and purpose, because of its source.

    That course may or may not lead to Utah, but it does certainly lead to re-invigorated membership. It may or may not lead you to instantaneous peace with all of the issues you struggled with, but it does lead you to put your trust in God and keep seeking.

    I love you for your courage and faith already demonstrated. And from what you mentioned in your initial question, you are in God’s hands.

    All the best,

    Nate

  27. Dave Powell

    In Romans chapter 6 God gives instructions and definition to baptism. If everyone were to be re-baptized every-time we sinned then we’d all be waterlogged prunes needing fins and gills. I see in God’s word that when Philip baptized the eunuch in Acts 8:36 it says ” And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized? 37 And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. 38 And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him. 39 And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.” I am sure the Ethiopian did not need Philip to show up at his door step every morning for a re-do. Gee, even the thief on the cross was never baptized yet he was forgiven. Jesus himself was baptized in the Jordon River by one who realized that he was baptizing the Creator of the universe. I venture to guess that you put your faith in a “religion” and an organization rather than in God. I think that rather than getting wet over and over the best bet is to get on your knees and ask that Jesus fill your heart. Then you surrender your whole heart, mind, body and soul to the Creator of the universe… Jesus said in John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

  28. Jul

    I am LDS and think that sometimes we do not think through what’s really going on. In the clamor of dissenting voices concerning the LDS church more and more people are being swayed without comprehending the real issues.

    It has long been mentioned in the church and scripture that the day would come when the very elect would be deceived. The loud racket being made by the growing numbers of dissenters in and out of the church is drowning out the voice of reason with the claims of evidence of deceptions and accusations of deceitful efforts to hide our history etc.

    There is a work underfoot that seems most do not grasp yet. It seems to that there is a work to hide and protect the church from its history, past and theology. Completely, incorrect. Think of Bruce R. McConkie’s take on the 10 virgins and that they represent the members and that half will fall away, what do you think is going to cause the saints to turn from one another. We do love each other and as a group are very tolerant when appropriate, but what is going to drive a wedge between the members to push them a part.
    Faith is the issue. The 50 % that fall away are those who do not realize that theology is built upon a requirement of faith. Without it none can please God. One can never overcome the theological demands of faith by an appeal to empirical proof. They are at odds. The one destroys the other. Proof will only leave you weak and unable to stand when stand you must. The one leads to life eternal the other leaves one unable to call upon God when the time is ripe for destruction. The work that is underfoot is the sifting of the wheat from the dross.
    In the coming days, I have no clue how long, but soon enough I am sure, the truths of the history of the church will save no lives. The only thing that will is in those, that live, breath, feel in their hearts and souls the faith that can stand this moment – the beginning onslaught against the church. It is the same ideological battle that pulled the third of heaven to follow Satan. It will escalate from here to becoming a physical battle and the world will be arrayed against us – It will take powerful faith, perhaps Enochian faith to turn the tides against those that would destroy the members of the church. So many are now only in the beginning stages of the battle of the war of words and ideals and too many are already falling prey to the efforts. What will those who can see the coming storm do when destruction is between you and the powers of heaven to forestall; when faith is all that will deliver.
    Faith – so few understand it is a genuine power. Sometimes I think that members are hell-bent on avoiding, denying, and fleeing away from the opportunities to exercise faith – the power that holds worlds in their orbits and enables the creative efforts. We lip service it and then ignore it constantly. This day is a blessing to all of us. We are being tossed and torn and beaten and abused in the crucible of faith. The anxiety we feel is because you are slowly feeling the heat of the flames that will prepare some and destroy others.
    Often we acknowledge the need for faith but it is not impressed upon our souls the power of what faith really is. Again I ask, what did you think it would look like when we were in the middle of the sifting. IT LOOKS LIKE WHAT YOU ARE SEEING. It is painful, until the faith provides the healing and there is no faith in questioning the motives of the church. They know exactly what is happening and they are stemming it as best they can within the boundaries of agency, and teaching correct principle.

  29. CLP

    I’m both impressed and concerned about the Faith and the lack of faith of many who are hot and cold in their believes in the church. I stand by the words in one of the hymns the Primary children sing that goes something like this . . . Follow the Prophet, Follow the Prophet, etc. That is good enough for me. I really believe the words of all the general authorities, all we need is the faith to believe and follow their council. CLP

  30. Jason Campbell

    I recently read the Book of Mormon in a month. It was a fantastic spiritual experience. I felt the Spirit much stronger in my life and my desire to do good and faith also increased. I also found that I was able to withstand temptation more easily. It was amazing to gain a new perspective on Gods dealings with his people. I would recommend that anyone who is struggling spiritually to do the same thing. You will not be disappointed!

  31. Gail Nicolaysen-Shurtleff

    The more I study and keep focused on the difference between the “church” and the gospel I am convinced that if we focus on the Gospel we can maintain a sense of balance within the gospel and evaluate the church and its culture for what it is: A really messed up way of looking at life. It saddens me to see so many drift so far from what was taught by Christ (Gospel) preferring to think that the Church IS gospel.

    The most powerful aspect of the gospel is Christ and his love for each of us. He taught each of us to respect and to show love. On this one thing alone all things can be hung. The gospel allows us to use our god given intelligence to decide on many issues. Lately is seems that there has been a hateful and vengeful attitude creeping into things. This I chose to distance myself from. This I view as “church” rather than the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.

    There are times when it is important to slow down, think and study. In traveling the road of a spiritual journey I have found this to be the case. Take your time because time is really what well help you to gain a clear perspective.

  32. Gail

    I was teaching the 12/13 -year olds about the prophets. I wanted to be sure that what I was teaching, the Holy Ghost could bear witness of, so I boldy went all over internet resources and wrestled with SO many uncomfortable conceptions and preconceptions. The instructors manual said, right in the introduction, that you should not attempt to teach everything that is in the manual, which I was grateful for, because sometimes, I just didn’t teach things.
    This is what I have come to understand. This is a community which has as its very foundation, IMPERFECTION. Unlike many other Christian churches, we believe that the scriptures are IMPERFECT. We believe that prophets (ancient and modern) are IMPERFECT. We believe that the organization of the church is IMPERFECT. We believe that the people we associate with, who have important callings and heavy responsibilities, are IMPERFECT. We believe that our pioneer forbears were IMPERFECT. I believe that I am IMPERFECT. And we believe that God will work with and through IMPERFECT people to accomplish His eternal purposes.

    That other foundational principle, AGENCY, grows intertwined with our imperfection. In the early 60s there was discussion among the 12 and the Presidency about providing black men with the opportunity to receive the priesthood again. Someone was away on assignment while this discussion proceeded. He returned, and was informed of this discussion having taken place. He just couldn’t accept that the time was right. But God will force NO man, not even an apostle. They could not achieve consensus, so the Prophet did not take their decision to the Lord for His confirmation. God’s commands are gentle. Sometimes we have to join with Him in waiting for His bullheaded servants to figure things out.

  33. Just a guy that hopes this all works out for you

    I think the question of when this family should be rebaptized comes down to when they are ready to make baptismal covenants.

    Mosiah 18:8-10

    8 And it came to pass that he said unto them: Behold, here are the waters of Mormon (for thus were they called) and now, as ye are desirous to come into the fold of God, and to be called his people, and are willing to bear one another’s burdens, that they may be light;

    9 Yea, and are willing to mourn with those that mourn; yea, and comfort those that stand in need of comfort, and to stand as witnesses of God at all times and in all things, and in all places that ye may be in, even until death, that ye may be redeemed of God, and be numbered with those of the first resurrection, that ye may have eternal life—

    10 Now I say unto you, if this be the desire of your hearts, what have you against being baptized in the name of the Lord, as a witness before him that ye have entered into a covenant with him, that ye will serve him and keep his commandments, that he may pour out his Spirit more abundantly upon you?

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