Talking about our Faith – in the Faith

Aspiring Mormon Women recently published a post about getting to know other women by asking good questions.  The author, Christanne Harrison, encourages women to discuss dreams, interests, and aspirations beyond the usual “church questions”.

This got me thinking.  I wondered: “Are we truly authentic in our discussions with other church members when we talk about our faith, our concerns, our feminism, our ideas about scriptural references, our spiritual experience?” and “Do we ask others to share their authentic feelings, ideas, and experiences with us?”

Even more important:  “Do we seek to understand another’s spiritual point of view with an open heart?”  and “Do we seek to communicate our feelings in a language that will be understood by others?”

My guess is that we don’t talk about our faith – in the faith – as authentically as we could.  I know I don’t.  And maybe that’s OK.  For example: I am very involved in the Ordain Women movement – and, for me, it’s an integral part of my faith and my worship.  I share my feelings often, but not always.  I don’t hold back because I fear judgement, but I do hold back when I sense it will be upsetting to others.

If you hold back your authentic faith in discussions, why?  What questions could be asked to explore faith more fully?



Suzette lives in the Washington DC area and works as a Professional Organizer. She enjoys blogging and serving on the Exponent II Board. Her Mormon roots run deep and she loves her big Mormon family which includes 20 nieces and nephews, 6 sisters, 5 brother in laws, 2 parents - and dozens of cousins. Her favorite things about church are the great Alexandria wards, temple worship, and all things Visiting Teaching.

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5 Responses

  1. Katie says:

    This is a timely post for me — I have recently made a decision to fully pursue authenticity in all areas of my life. While I think I have always gravitated towards authenticity in matters of career, and with my friends, but in matters of faith, I have been much, much more guarded, and at times, insincere.

    I shocked myself the other day by being quite frank with the sister missionaries about the fact that I have serious problems with Joseph Smith, the history and practice of polygamy, and gender doctrine/policy within the church. While I still wonder (and kind of fear) what the repercussions of my directness will be — as in, will I get hauled into the bishops office anytime soon — I am of the opinion that until these things are spoken about openly in the church, and that doubt and questioning are tolerated instead of shamed, the church will continue to bleed people.

    • Kirsten says:

      My husband teaches Gospel Doctrine in our ward and most every week tells the class that it is much better that we discuss our history– with all of the questions and doubts– everything– in “the house of faith”. This is much better than finding out the “truth” on the internet and having no perspective or vision of how things fit into the Church. Even though we have not grappled with too many hot button issues, we have had frank, truthful discussions about various events in Church History with the curriculum this year– polygamy, Mountain Meadows massacre, encounters with the US Gov. in Utah. I’d like to think that over time, this might grow into a more open atmosphere to talk about more issues that we deal with today. I don’t feel comfortable being completely open with most people about my feelings about gay marriage, women’s ordination, etc. It’s a shame that fear of retaliation by priesthood authorities keeps many in silence when an open mind and a listening ear could do wonders to calm a gathering storm.
      As a parent of teens, I work hard to teach them to think carefully about issues and to respect the various positions that people take on them. I hope that they will be the kind of adults who will listen with kindness rather than fear.

  2. Rachel says:

    I really love this post/series of questions, Suzette.

    Over the last four or so years, I have tried very hard to open up about the things that I really do believe, and the things that I really do care about. I have even tried to do this in church settings. Sometimes it has taken great courage, and sometimes I have ran out of the church building after to avoid additional conversations, but it has almost entirely gone very well. My vulnerability and bravery has been met with kindness and new friendships, of a sort that I never dreamed possible.

  3. SuzyB says:

    I think that I kind of always talk spiritually because I see all things spiritually….but I don’t go around throwing Book of Mormons to everyone. I don’t think there is any method of action this is good for all moments. I think it is important to become a person fearless in following the Holy Ghost so as to know when to bring it on and when to back it off.

  1. October 31, 2013

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