Why I Stick With the Church

Why I stay: Let me be perfectly upfront. Church is a real struggle for me sometimes. A lot of the rhetoric I hear over the pulpit about gender roles and identity, “us” vs. “the world”, exclusivity, and black and white statements in general – not to mention a lack of focus on Jesus – drive me up a wall.

But despite all of that, I am somewhat committed to remaining at least a partially active member. I can locate a few reasons for this.

1. Mike. He’s the best human male I’ve ever met. Hands down. Kind, ethical, compassionate, thoughtful. And really smart. Sure, there are some things I would change (e.g. his politics and lesser interest in helping animals), but overall he is an incredibly good person. And the LDS Church helped produce him. I can’t forget that. Every time I wonder why I stay, I look at him and know that the Church can indeed do very good things for some people and teach some very good principles. It helped fashion a marvelous human being in Mike.

2. While I find a lot of Joseph Smith’s actions, particularly during the Nauvoo period deeply problematic, I like his radical vision of a new religion. I find compelling his vision for the divine potential of humans, male and female. I like his radical approach to battling poverty through the United Order. I think his ideas about the spiritual and divine potential of women were particularly revolutionary, as when he “turned the key” to the Relief Society and organized them “in the order of the priesthood.” I think our present day Church institution has unfortunately retreated from the liberated vision Joseph Smith had for women and their auxiliaries.

3. I stay because I now realize I can choose what to believe in. I stay because I now realize that I have the privilege, the right, and the responsibility to embrace those wonderful LDS ideas that empower me and to reject the ones that don’t. And this realization – that I can choose what to believe in, that Mormonism is not an all or nothing proposition – has liberated me. By rejecting the ideas that tear me down and hurt me (men presiding in the family, women having to hearken unto husbands, a circumscribed definition of womanhood, polygamy as my eternal future), I am now at liberty to embrace the ideas which I love that are also a part of my faith. It inspires me to no end to know that the Jesus we Mormons believe in is the same Jesus who went out of his way to include and teach the outcasts of society, to break taboos, and to uplift all humans despite race, sex, or class. That is the Jesus I accept and love, and any ideas that have crept into Mormonism that go against that, I roundly reject.

4. I stay because I know that leaders need to be allowed to make mistakes and grow. At this point in my spiritual life, I am on a religious journey that privileges my own conception of God’s wishes and my own conscience (i.e. personal revelation/the Spirit) over the statements of Church Authorities. I now realize that all human beings, including Church leaders, are subject to their own cultural contexts, and that even the wisest, most wonderful leaders can allow unfortunate cultural ideas to creep into their conceptions of the gospel. I am trying to be more compassionate towards these leaders. After all, they are human, and I am human. And I know that I make mistakes too.

5. I stay because of my own fallibility. This realization of my own fallibility has also profoundly affected my relationship with the Church. Just as I need Jesus to forgive me for all the mistakes I make, I know that I need to forgive the institutional Church for the mistakes it makes. It’s not easy to do. I am extremely hurt by the ways women are routinely shut out from the general Church hierarchy, by the ways women’s voices and ideas are lost or ignored in nearly all Church talks and lessons. But I need to give the Church time to progress. This is the gospel of progression; it is also the Church of progression. And I have reason to hope that it will indeed progress with time. (After all, blacks did eventually get the priesthood.)

6. I also stay because, in order for the Church to progress, it needs people like me to stay. The Church benefits from having all types of people of various ethnic backgrounds, ideologies, and political persuasions. The more types of people it has, the more types of people it can help. Besides, this is my church too. If progressive, liberal people keep leaving the Church, it will be left with a population that grows steadily more conservative and homogeneous in ideology. This would negatively impact its ability to be the inclusive and compassionate church I know it has the potential to be.

7. I stay because I care. Despite all my issues with the current hierarchical structure of the church and certain doctrines I find disturbing, I really do care about it. I have shed countless tears over the problems and unfairness I have perceived in the institutional Church. After all, this is my religion, my heritage, and my identity. My ancestors sacrificed and died for this religion, and I want this to be an institution they would be proud of. I want to be proud of it. I desperately want it to be better than it is, just as I want me to be better than who I am. And if I don’t stay, I will no longer have the same types of opportunities to help it progress.

I would love to hear why others have personally chosen to stay in the Church, despite possible difficulties.

Note: this is adapted from a post I made a few months ago at my personal blog, Madwoman Out of the Attic.

Caroline

Caroline is a PhD student in Women's Studies in Religion and mother of three.

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  1. Seraphine says:

    I stay because I have had profound spiritual experiences through my involvement in this church that I would find it very difficult to walk away from.

    I stay because I know it’s what God wants me to do. My relationship with Him is one of the most sacred things in my life, and I know that leaving would injure this relationship. And I know that God accepts my unique/heterodox positions on the church and wants me to be involved in spite (or maybe because) of them.

  2. Harijans says:

    That is a pretty powerful post and I am glad you made it. Everyone who stays in the church has their reasons for doing so. But the one thing we can be sure of is that no one stays in the church because it is the fun place to be.

    The Mormon religion is not easy, and while we all struggle for different reasons, we all do struggle with the religion to various degrees. We also all react differently to these personal battles. Some people constantly face an internal debate as to whether or not they should stay or go. Others turn on themselves and pursue self-guilt complexes. And many of us just try and ignore the church as much as possible while still aspiring to its tenants.

    I stay because it is true. It is not the only truth, it is not complete truth, but it is true.
    I stay because the church pushes me to be a better person, and I push back.
    I stay because I believe I have a responsibility to care for my brothers and sisters, and the church helps me to foster and attend to that responsibility.
    I stay because the church is incredibly progressive even to this day. Sometimes it does not feel like it, ok most of the time, but you would be hard pressed to find another religion that changes as much as the Mormon faith without splintering into a thousand different factions.
    I stay because it is my heritage.
    I stay because it takes so much more courage to stay than it does to walk away.
    I stay because diversity is what drives the progression, and I am part of the diversity.

    Thank you for the good post.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I stay because I suspect that the things I’m disappointed about in the church (very different from yours, you bet) are things I’m wrong about. In other words, I stay because I think God is uniquely involved in the Church.

    -Adam Greenwood

  4. Deborah says:

    I have a good friend who is expecting twins. She will likely be on bedrest soon. “But,” she said, “if it comes to that, I know I can pick up the phone, call the Relief Society president, and my family will be fed.” I’d bring her meals, even if she wasn’t a good friend. And undoubtedly I’ll need this temporal, physical charity someday myself. I stay for more reasons than this, but the willingness of women to step up and step in for their sisters is a piece of the puzzle.

  5. Eve says:

    Thanks, Caroline, for a beautiful and heartfelt post. Many of your reasons are mine as well. I was particularly touched by your point about the need to forgive the institution of the Church, something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.

    I stay because hard as it often is, I know God would have me here and that I am a better person for my relationship with the Church and my participation in its ordinances. As s said, when everything seems to conspire to keep me away and I feel so forever alone at church, I remember a few piercing, transformative spiritual experiences and many quiet moments of peace. I know I’m responsible to those experiences and to God through the covenants I’ve made.

  6. Caroline says:

    S and Eve,
    Thanks for your input. I have to admit that I am jealous of your spiritual experiences that tell you that this is the church for you. I don’t think I’ve ever in my life had that type of experience. I wish I had had them. I bet staying would be easier if I could draw off of those memories.

    Harijans,
    Thanks for your comments. Many of your reasons for staying are also compelling to me.

    Adam Greenwood,
    Interesting comment. I also think God is involved in our church – perhaps uniquely so. But I think God can be found in so many places and in so many faiths that it’s grating for me to hear comments at church that are so full of pity towards those who aren’t in the church. I tend to think that Mormonism isn’t going to work for everyone, and I’m so happy when these other people find spiritual enlightenment somewhere else.

    Deborah,
    Yes, the tight social network is definitely a plus for a lot of people. It is nice to know that there are people who willing to step up and help when there are major problems.

  7. Dave says:

    Staying because of a spouse is a good reason. New churches are easy to find; new spouses much tougher.

    Staying because of tradition is a good reason. Mormonism isn’t a church, it’s a worldview. Changing to a different church isn’t like changing health clubs, it’s like moving to Scotland: Sure, you think they speak your language there, but you’ll have some surprises.

    Yes, the Church needs a few good religious liberals — and that’s about all it has left. You won’t have any effect on leadership, but you can pass on hope to a few of the brighter LDS youth you come into contact with. A saving remnant.

  8. Matt T. says:

    Nice list Caroline. All of your reasons apply to me as well, although I’m probably a little more ambivalent about some of them. I’m glad you choose to stay though. The more Carlines that choose to stay, the more likely I will stay, if that makes sense. Like Dave, I’m skeptical about your ability to influence leadership, but I think you can have a profound influence on other members; in fact you already are via this great Blog.

    You mentioned your husband’s impact on your choice to stay, I’m curious about your kid’s impact? (If I recall you are either pregnant or recently had a baby.) I’ve seen active-but-frustrated Members like yourself become less frustrated, more concervative, less concerned about problems with the Church after the onset of children, and I’ve seen the opposite happen as well. Care to venture a guess how kids impact your choice to stay?

  9. Eve says:

    Caroline, (Sorry, this is probably going off in a different direction than you had intended)

    One of the things I think is so weird, so inexplicable about spiritual life is how completely individual our experiences are. I’ve long known I need to be in the church (and long struggled to stay) but there are other things I just don’t know for the life of me. Joseph Smith’s prophetic calling is probably the biggest. When I was in the MTC, I got really worried that I didn’t have a testimony of Joseph Smith and prayed to receive one. I never did. Almost thirteen years later, I still haven’t. I’ve had many spiritual experiences that have confirmed the truth of the Book of Mormon, the reality of the living prophet’s authority, and the reality of priesthood power (that one has been a little hard for me to accept, at times), so in a sense, I suppose I have a testimony of Joseph Smith by implication, but not directly of him. Maybe I’ll eventually gain that knowledge, and maybe I never will.

    I guess this is just a long-winded way of saying that while I don’t understand what it’s like not to have a confirming spiritual experience that you need to stay, I do understand, a little, what it’s like not to be able to get a spiritual experience that you’d like to have. It doesn’t make much sense to me why some of us know things and others of us have to take them on faith.

    I tend to want every out-of-the-mainstream person I know to stay in the church (or to join!) so that our social world will expand. As Matt said, the more of you there are, the less alone I feel, and the easier it is for me to stay, too.

  10. Caroline says:

    Dave, you’re right. Swallowing some religious frustrations for the sake of a wonderful spouse is probably a worthwhile sacrifice. I suppose I’m still naively hopeful that people like me can help the church progress. Probably not on an institutional level, but maybe on a local level – maybe even on local leaders who care enough to listen.

    Matt, I know what you mean. Whenever one of my liberal friends contemplates leaving the church, I usually selfishly beg them to stay because it is their presense that makes church more tolerable for me and other like me.

    As for kids, my first baby is coming this summer. I don’t think having kids will make me more ok with the current church structure, though maybe I’ll be less open about my dissatisfaction if my kids are listening. I’m kind of drawn to that “stages of faith” idea in which I have to let my kids have their time of being believers, and then from there when they are a bit older they can explore the nuances and problems.

    I actually see having kids as something that might possibly come between me and Mike the most. Even with my tentative plan of watching what I say a bit, we’re going to have really different ideas about what to teach them and what to say around them. But I guess we’ll cross that one when we come to it. So ultimately, once again, to answer your question, I highly doubt that having kids will somehow make me more ok with all the things that drive me crazy.

  11. Caroline says:

    Eve, yes, it is strange how some of us get all these spiritual experiences and some of us just don’t. Of course, if I am honest with myself, I should admit that I don’t try as hard as I probably should. I think I’ve just given up at this point thinking that god will ever really communicate with me. So I’m not terribly good at doing meaningful prayers and am definitely not good about reading the scriptures (the male-centric language and focus really bother me.)

    That said, I am very comfortable with the idea of being a Christian. I feel strongly that this is a great world view, and I really even think that Jesus is my savior, etc. I’ve not had any spiritual experiences to confirm that; I’m just comfortable with the ideas and doctrine because I like the New Testament Jesus and what he stood for so much. So perhaps it’s my connection to Jesus plus my Mormon connection to Mike and my heritage that right now is telling me it’s best to try to make things work within Mormonism.

    I too love non-mainstream people. I wish you guys were in my ward here. Life is a lot better when you don’t feel alone at church.

  12. Lyle says:

    Caroline

    “I’ve not had any spiritual experiences to confirm that”

    “…people like me can help the church progress.”

    Why would you want to change (help it progress) something that you dont even truly believe in? It sounds to me like you are just trying to get the Church to change to fit you.

  13. Caroline says:

    Lyle,
    I don’t think we all have to have identical testimonies of every aspect of the church’s truthfulness to contribute meaningfully.

    I’ve not had any overwhelming spiritual experiences that this is the “one true” church, but it is my heritage, my culture, a large part of my social network, not to mention a big part of my marriage. And as I mentioned before, I do have a testimony of Jesus, and I find a lot of Joseph’s Smith’s ideas very compelling. So yes, I think people like me can help the church progress. As I said above, the more types of members the church has, the more types it can help.

  14. Harijans says:

    Bah no one reads long posts, but I can’t find a way to make it shorter. Maybe Emily will read it and I can score some points with her.

    There is no prerequisite of testimony, spirituality, or righteousness for wanting to help the church change. One could even argue that promoting change in the church is a righteous endeavor. One of the unique doctrines of the Mormon faith is eternal progression. We often get caught up in our personal progression because it is easier to control, manage and measure. However, the greater goal is to change and progress as a religion.

    Change is an inherent part of our religion. The fact that the church changes is what makes the religion wonderful, and what keeps it true. Consider the following:

    ~5 years ago women could only be sealed to one man, Today a woman can be sealed to multiple men. The reverse has always been accepted.
    ~10 years ago an apostle admitted that evolution, in some form, is real in general conference. 70 years before his talk Joseph F. Smith said that evolution in any form never has been and never will be true. (not in conference)
    ~30 years ago birth control was strongly discouraged throughout the church
    ~40 years ago minorities could not have the priesthood
    ~80 years ago it was still widely acceptable to drink coffee and tea
    ~70 years ago during WW2 the church began encouraging women to serve missions
    ~90 years ago before prohibition, it was widely acceptable to drink alcohol in moderation
    ~110 years ago before Utah was a state, polygamy was practiced and encouraged
    ~120 years ago there were more democrats than republicans in the church 

    The church is full of change, and while that change must come from the top at the doctrinal level, it is influenced and pushed from the ward level. If no one were questioning doctrine or church policy we, as a religion, would become stagnant and stop progressing.

    Change is necessary for us, as a group, to become more like God. Citing the temple ceremony and historical records in modern church history, as well as the Old and New Testament, it is safe to admit the possibility that at some point women may hold priesthood offices. As a religion, we are no more ready accpet such doctrine than we are ready to follow the law of consecration or reinstate the doctrine of polygamy.

    I throw those three acknowledged, but unpracticed doctrines together because hypothetically, next week the prophet could allow women to have the priesthood, Such a change would drive away many members from the church and draw many others closer to the fold. Next week the prophet could reinstate the doctrine of polygamy and experience the same responses from different people. Enacting the law of consecration would have a similar effect. Imagine if next week every white republican Mormon living in Arizona had to pool their assets with every brown Mormon immigrant and live communally. That is a reality show even I would watch.

    It is the responsibility of church members to do their best to live by the doctrines and laws that are currently in place in an attempt to progress the church to a point where new doctrines can be instituted. Just keep in mind that the next doctrine to be implemented, while it may strengthen one testimony, will weaken another testimony. How will we react when that happens? If the doctrine is hard to accept will you walk away or try to keep others from leaving? If the doctrine is easy to accept will you gloat, or help others who struggle?

    The Church started off as a grass roots organization, and I think it still is. Our missionaries, growth, volunteerism and communal consciousness attest to this heritage. Grass roots organizations are also defined by their ability to change from within. Our leaders cannot effectively institute any change the members are unwilling to live by. Similarly, the apostles cannot resist doctrines that the members are ready to live by. If the majority of the church wanted women to hold priesthood callings, then the prophet would receive revelation that such a change was acceptable and good, or wrong and non-negotiable. This is exactly what happened when minorities received the priesthood. But without the voice of the members saying “we are ready to live this doctrine,” how would change ever occur?

    From tithing, to temples, to word of wisdom, to the priesthood, every one of these doctrines were instituted as a result of members with varying degrees of testimony, spirituality and righteousness asking for a change and for direction.

  15. AmyB says:

    “5 years ago women could only be sealed to one man, Today a woman can be sealed to multiple men. The reverse has always been accepted.”

    Are you sure about that?? Somehow I feel like I would have heard about a change like that, but maybe I’m totally out of the loop.

    Caroline, I think it is very bold of you to admit to not having spiritual experiences. Sometimes I think we are so conditioned and positively reinforced in the church when we say we have them, that it becomes almost taboo to say anything different.

    Why do I stay? For now it’s because of women like you.

  16. Lynnette says:

    I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s thoughts on this. In pondering this, I’ve realized that I’m not completely sure why I stay. The fact that I’ve had spiritual experiences in an LDS context is certainly a large part of it. And for all the ways in which I wonder whether I belong, there’s still that sense that it’s “my” church–perhaps most evidenced by the fact that despite all my complaints about things, I get defensive and irritated when outsiders make fun of or criticize Mormons.

    When it all comes down, I think that hope has a lot to do with why I stay. Hope that the Church really does have something of value. And hope that the problems aren’t permanent, that things can change.

  17. paula says:

    “5 years ago women could only be sealed to one man, Today a woman can be sealed to multiple men. The reverse has always been accepted.”

    This is not correct, at least not if you are talking about people who are alive. I don’t know where this rumor came from, but it keeps popping up on different email lists and blogs, and I asked a sealer in our local temple, who said it was not true, and asked the temple president, just to be sure, and it was not true. YOu can seal a woman who is deceased to more than one man, but a woman who is alive cannot be sealed to two men, even if one of the men has already died.

  18. Caroline says:

    Harijans,
    I read your comment. 3 times 🙂 Thanks for all your excellent points. I especially liked your point about how our goal should be to progress as a religion. It’s that idea of progression that I find most compelling about the Mormon faith. And I love your list of ways the church has evolved/progressed over the last century. Gives me hope.

    AmyB and Paula,
    Yes, it’s dead women who can now be sealed to more than one dead man. Whereas a live man can get sealed more than once if his wife dies.

    AmyB, Yes it’s been a bit of a journey to be able to admit that I don’t really “feel the spirit” like other Mormons often seem to. Sure I get the warm fuzzies sometimes, but I don’t feel comfortable saying that’s the spirit. Could just be my emotions.

    Also, I do have moments of surety and clarity, but once again, I just don’t know if that’s the spirit. Can/should I consider these moments of clarity the spirit if they lead me to conclusions that most mainstream Mormons would not embrace? I am beginning to think I can. Recently, I have become more comfortable referencing “the spirit” because I’ve come to decide that that must be pretty close to my conscience. I’m comfortable with that equation.

    Lynnette,
    Me too. I complain, but I don’t like hearing outsiders do it. I guess it’s kind of like a disfunctional family – it’s ok for a family member to point out issues, but outsiders should be very careful.

  19. AmyB says:

    “Yes, it’s dead women who can now be sealed to more than one dead man. Whereas a live man can get sealed more than once if his wife dies.”

    I really don’t want to do a threadjack here, but I’m confused. Under what circumstance would a dead woman be sealed to more than one dead man? And why the discrepancy?

  20. Deborah says:

    If I remember it right . . .if you are doing family history and come across female ancestors who were married more than once, you seal ’em to everyone and let them duke it out in heaven — i.e. it’s not for us to judge which man is the “right” one to seal her to. I have no qualms with this philosophy — spread the love, let God work it out hereafter.

    It’s the idea that a *living* man can be sealed to additional women if his wife dies that gives me pause — it feels as though we overtly denounce earthly polygamy, but discreetly maintain it as an eternal principle (e.g. Elder Oaks referring to his new wife as his “eternal companion”).

    I don’t worry too much about it — since I’m a big believer in the ‘it’ll all work out because God is God'(for all we know there are multiple family structures in the eternities depending on people’s sincere desires). But we don’t yet have a consistent message about polygamy. After all 132 is still in the cannon . . . I imagine at some point the church will have to figure out what to do with it all . . .

  21. paula says:

    Amy, I think that the reason for the discrepancy is that men have been able to be sealed to more than one woman ever since JS first taught the doctrine of plural marriage. The US government doesn’t care how many dead women a man is sealed to, so there’s never been a reason to stop it. So basically we still do believe that polygamy will exist in the celestial kingdom. However the problem for women began with genealogy and with the extraction program in particular. As Deborah said, the thinking has been that you let the woman decide in the hereafter. Even if church officials wanted to stop having women sealed to more than one man posthumously, it would be practically impossible, with all the people out there doing genealogy. What if the second husband’s kids beat the first husband’s kids to the temple for the sealing? (Juanita Brooks is a good example here. She had a brief first marriage to a man who died very young. Her second marriage was long and fulfilling, but she couldn’t be sealed to that man while she was alive. Her children’s opinion was that she’d want to be with Will, her second husband, and that it would be worked out in the hereafter.) There’s not really any good oversight of who’s sealing who to whom, so there’s no way to prevent a woman being sealed to two men. Also when the church does extractions– taking names from parish registers for temple sealings– there is no checking done to see if the women there were already sealed to someone else. That would slow down the process a great deal. There’s still one important difference– the expectation is that a woman will choose one of those sealings in the hereafter. But I’ve never heard it said that men will have to choose among the women they are sealed to.

  22. Matt T. says:

    I don’t know if anyone is still reading this thread…

    I had an interesting meeting with my Bishop and Stake President last week. It was a get-to-know-you interview, not a worthiness interview or a “calling” interview. At one point during our conversation we got on the subject of Church History and Joseph Smith. I was asked if I’d read Bushman’s Rough Stone Rolling. Then I was asked my opinion of Joseph Smith. It was the first time I’d ever expressed doubts about his prophetic calling to a Church leader. From that point of the conversation on they tried to “fix me”.

    After the meeting ended I felt good about being honest and open about my true feelings/beliefs, but I also felt bad because I don’t think they really heard or understood my heart… all they heard, I think, was: “He doesn’t believe in Joseph Smith!!!”.

    I wrote the Bishop a letter the next day. I will quote part of that letter here because it kind of relates to the whole “why I stay” theme of this post:

    You asked me my opinion of Joseph Smith. It was difficult for me to answer that question for a variety of reasons. If you don’t mind, I’d like to elaborate on my answer now…

    I admit to being engaged in a 6-7 year long battle between two selves: the rational, logical relativist who wonders about angels, and golden plates, and absolute statements like “only true church”, and finds some merit in the many compelling evidences that might suggest not everything in Church History and Doctrine is as it seems; and the hopeful, faithful boy who grew up in the Church believing in a heroic Joseph Smith and the absolute, literal truthfulness of the restored gospel. I’ll admit to feeling much pain and confusion over the past few years as I attempted to force Joseph Smith into an either/or box: either he was a true prophet of God, or he was a charlatan and the whole Church is a lie.

    Over the past year, however, I have largely come to the very peaceful conclusion that I don’t know and I don’t care. That probably sounds harsher than I mean it. What I mean to say is that it is enough for me right now to know that Joseph Smith was an inspired man of God who taught many things that are good —- and therefore “true” —- and that my life has been blessed because of his teachings. Largely because of Joseph Smith I know that I am a son of God and that He has a purpose in life for me. Finally, I hope to continue to serve God and my fellow man in the Church that Joseph Smith founded.

    I’m sure some will view my current feelings as less valiant, as wishy-washy, and possibly as heretical. I realize my feelings may not qualify me for a temple recommend. But this is still my testimony, as simple as it is. Ironically, since coming to this very basic testimony, I am no longer filled with pain and confusion. (Or at least far, far less.) I try to live my life by the following two imperatives:

    1. Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

    2. Awake and arouse your faculties, even to an experiment upon my words.

    When I follow those rules I’ve found that I really do receive wisdom from God line upon line.

    Well, the above hardly describes a tenth of my feelings. I appreciate your taking the time to read this all the same.

    Sincerely,

    Matt

    P.S. I should say that I co-opted the two-pronged “imperative” above from another blogger/friend because it fit me so well. Of course he ultimately co-opted them from their original source.

  23. harijans says:

    I honestly do not know about the woman being sealed to more than one man, living or dead. I heard it from my mother and mother-in-law, and a few other people. It was always presented to me as if women now could be sealed to more than one man living or dead. I never pursued it because I figured it was a normal progression thing, and I still do.

    I will have to do some research on this one, my guess is that like many directions given from the first presidency, the implementation of said direction gets twisted. Really, what is the difference if they are living or dead? If they can be sealed, they can be sealed.

    I worked in the Boston temple for some time, and was totally shocked and appauled at the amount of doctrinal abuse, and unrighteous dominion I witnessed as a temple worker. It was hands down one of the worst experiences I have ever had with the church. Did you know that an endowment is not complete if the temple worker does not hold the name card by the upper corners (one hand on each corner) for the name to be read?

    I know the church never publically announced the changes in the sealing rule, I will have to dig and find the letter instructing the change, and see how it is worded.

  24. John says:

    Matt, I can relate to much of what you said in your last comment. I’ve read somewhere that “a true sign of spiritual maturity is the ability to accept paradox.” I’m not sure how applicable that is, but hopefully it has some relevance.

    I have a rationalist bent and a healthy respect for the truth that wants me to put each doctrine in an either/or box. As I grow older, I realize that it’s possible to be spiritual, religious and ethical without having yes/no answers to these questions. I’ve satisfied myself with tabling certain questions of belief (for the moment) and focusing on living, experiencing and serving.

    I’m to the point now that I resent it when church leaders corner me and try to force me to respond to the questions I don’t want to ask at the present. I feel like they’re disrupting the delicate equilibrium that allows me to have some positive relationship with the church and with the LDS community.

  25. S & J says:

    My grandmother (living) is sealed to both my grandfather (dead) and to her current husband (living). They chose to be sealed to each other after the change in policy happened (it is not a myth) a few years ago.

  26. Kim Siever says:

    When I went through my faith crisis, I had an epiphany; I knew that God was the most important thing in Mormonism. Whether Joseph Smith slept with a 14 year old or whether Brigham Young was racist really was irrelevant. As long as I believed in God, none of the rest mattered.

    Why do I stay? Because I think Mormonism’s concept of God is the most palatable. It is the one I most closely relate to.

  27. Jeff Lindsay says:

    I appreciate your patience, faith, and goodwill. Thank you! May the most challenging issues become more clear to us or repaired, as needed.

  1. February 1, 2010

    […] Exponent: Why I Stick with the Church (by […]

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