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Interesting idea... Is it realistic to live as an active member of the church and yet not believe the doctrine? I am an inactive member who doesn't seem to fit anywhere. I live my life as if I were an active member, I continue to believe in the family values I was brought up with, I live the word of wisdom, have my food storage, even have family home evenings. I have found it difficult to fit in outside of the church and am uncomfortable with most of my daughters friends families who seem to raise their girls with no values at all. Outside the church I am a goodie two shoes. Inside the church I am a rebel. I often long for the companionship of relief society and the security of the youth program for my daughter. Yet I do not believe. For a while I tried to be in the church but not of the church (how weird is that, lol) but I couldn't make it work. I felt like a hypocrit even though I never held callings that required me to teach anyting i was not comfortable with. For those of you living the gospel you will know that it is not only a religion but a life style...can you have the lifestyle without the religion or would that be selfish to take the community benefits of membership but be unwilling to do your share of gospel work?

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This is one great post. Yes, it makes a lot of sense to me too. If the things go right, it will be a good knowledge earning and I must add it is a great idea also.

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Wow! Though-provoking question! I have never heard of living "in the church bot not of the church" before, but I suspect that a great many do just that. Belief is an important part of faith, but it is not all-important. A person who follows God's commandments, but isn't sure that there really IS a god, is better of and more faithful than someone who believes utterly in God but does not follow the commandments. And remember that faith is "not to have a sure kowledge." Alma counsels us that even if we can no more DESIRE to believe (or say, "I don't know if it's tue, but I hope it is") that this is enough to build on.

I'm no shrink, or prophet, but I'd say that you probably believe in more than you realize. It seems unlikely that you would feel so connected with the churcdh solely out of conditioning or socialization that occurred in childhood.

If you don't mind my asking, what in particular do you have trouble believing?

I would say OF COURSE you can and should reap whatever benefits you can from association with the church! If you feel that you cannot, in good conscience, hold a calling or take the sacrament, you are still welcome and wanted to join and participate as much as you are comfortable, as are all His children. If you have encountered unfriendliness in a ward or with cdertain indivisuals, please remember that the church is a group of imperfect people truying to live a perfect gospel.

Best wishes!
Jamie

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You know I have this thought ALL the time. I have been raised LDS since birth and am now married and a mother. Yet after studying, pondering, searching, and attending diligently I still can not say that I believe. Now call it cowardly if you wish, I would NEVER tell anyone in my ward this. In all honestly I would never tell anyone in a non anonymous way including my family how I feel. (Other than my husband, I share everything with him.) I attend my meetings and even enjoy callings because I believe in Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ with all my heart. Yet I feel so hypocritical all the time because I don't believe basic church practices and ceremonies. I find it all kooky, bizarre, and uncomfortable. I attended seminary in high school and showered my teachers with constant questions. I have gone to efy as a youth, education week, women's conference, institute classes and I have begun to say to myself that I probably will never have the answer in this lifetime. But I could not imagine not having the lifestyle. Not to mention if I ever left the church both my family and my husband's would freak out and my children and I would not be accepted. My kids are still very little so I am trying to sort this all out now. But I am at a crossroad. I have spent the last years taking my questions to Bishops in the 3 wards we have moved into. But all three times it led to my Bishop treating me differently, sending the Relief Society president to me (which is actually ok, I love a good woman talk and adult interaction) but leads her to treat me very differently and to be honest I didn't really want to share those questions with the Relief Society presidents. Now my husband is done with school and we have moved out of state and I think I am to a point I just want to keep my "non-belief" to myself so not to be treated differently and be able to interact without concern. In fact we have been here for 4 weeks and for the first 6 months my husband has to work Sundays and I have not taken the kids on my own yet, and my oldest who is in primary hasn't even asked to go. My husband suggested just doing studies at home for a bit since we have toddlers that would be so hard at church on my own. I know if I do this I will form the habit of not attending more than I already have this month. I haven't even met anyone from our ward here I could go under the radar for quite sometime. (I sound like I am in hiding.) I feel horrible because my children are missing out. But is that a lie? Is it wrong to teach my children something that I question at the very principle of its belief. Should I take a time-out per say to see if the "lack" of the church effects us? I have always been so obedient and fear the backlash of judgment from family but I am so tired of walking the line. Sorry for the forum hijack and rambling. Any comments are graciously welcomed. :-)

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Hey, I am a Single Father of a Daughter. I thought the same way 4 months ago. BUt everything changed I had to just pray and listen to what God said. Remember he didnt call us to be successful he called us to be obedient. ' love, juan

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To me designated church sects came after the fact.

A great deal stemmed off of even the first organized religions due to politics and people wanting to get back to reverence instead of taxations.

If faith existed before man organized it, I see faith, from an internal and eternal sense as constantly growing. I can't see how faith or the idea of what we think it is in its entirety as mere human beings could remain a perfect constant. It seems as soon as we start analyzing we're already getting further from whatever it is that's coming naturally.

Why can't you add on to what you've already taken in as faith and improve upon it according to what makes you comfortable within your Soul - like a direct relationship with God/Crhist and you as part of what stemmed from that relationship. If it makes a more contented individual without being lesser therefore, not hurting, stealing, taking or tearing down life or other people how can it be that that could be damaging to something we can only pretend to have a fraction of understanding of?

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I was brought up LDS. I spent my life with questions and questions and more questions that no one seemed to be able to answer. I have left the church and no longer consider myself to be a LDS. I spent my life feeling guilty, inadequate and confused. I believe in God and Jesus Christ. I also believe that there are many ways to the top of a mountain and the Mormon way isn't for me. I also got tired of being treated differently when I would start asking questions and was often told just to believe even if I didn't understand. Sorry - that couldn't work for me. My God-given brain needed to understand. And worse - I was told I wasn't spiritually mature enough to understand certain things. I do know that just as physical and emotional maturity takes time, so can spiritual maturity, but I also eventually realised that the reason I didn't grasp certain concepts had nothing to do with my so-called emotional immaturity. I lost faith in the leaders of the church and felt it was/is just a "boys club". However, I know many LDS members that are very happy in the church and feel it is right for them. But it isn't for me and I am not raising my children LDS. I would hate for them to go through the same guilt, turmoil and confusion that I did. I continue to raise them with the desire that they should be righteous, honest and have integrity. I feel relieved that I am no longer a member.

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Oh My, just reading the comments has me wondering if I am making a right decision. I recently became involved and am going to be baptized the first Sun. in Jan. So far all my questions have been answered and some that others could never answer for me have been answered by the LDS. But I have alot more especially reading these comments.

They don't allow women to preach do they?

Well anyway, yes God wants us to be obedient but obedient to him.
You don't have to go to a church or a certain building, God is
everywhere and we are free to worship him anyway you feel comfortable with. Live a good Christian life, worship God in your home if that is what you wish. Also remember though to reach out to others, not by preaching but by loving and caring for them and setting a good example.

Thank you


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Can you be a Mormon and not believe? My short answer 'yes.' Just ask any teenager. If they believe, they know someone who doesn't but goes to church because their family does or that's the thing to do (more prevalent in UT). I had a friend (I don't keep in touch with her much now) that I'm not sure ever gained a testimony of the gospel and Joseph Smith. I was very surprised when I found out she and her husband had gone through the temple and were sealed. The flip-side of your question: Can you have the lifestyle and not the religion? Yes, again. Those are the "golden" people missionaries are always looking for. And many of them do not want to join the Church. That's why the Church encourages EVERYONE to do genealogy, obtain a food storage, hold Family Home Evenings,.... I have relatives who came to feel like they did not 'fit in' in Church or no longer believe and left. I think that decision is between you and the Lord.

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This is an old post but in case anyone happens by, I'd like to add my thoughts here.

Many people attend the LDS church and all of its activities and may not believe all of the doctrine. In fact, some of these people serve in high posts, too.

But, in my experience, belief--and what we believe--changes and grows as we live. Think of it, we learn about new things and choose to accept or reject new knowledge all the time. We learn things "line upon line, precept upon precept" and sometimes, we just aren't ready to accept doctrine that we do not understand. Milk before the meat. We grow from babes in the gospel to more mature spirits. This does not mean, however, that just because you choose to reject some of the doctrine that you are spiritually immature! I do not mean that at all.

It's just that a testimony can ebb and flow throughout life.

Frankly, I am the opposite of you in some ways and like you in other ways. I am inactive and yet I believe. Because of family issues I do not attend church but I believe in the doctrine.

Most of it. Not all.

I think there is a flaw in the reasoning of the church that if I believe that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God that must dictate that I must believe in all he said. Not so. He was a prophet of God but he was also a mortal man. Have you read any of Emma's writings that attest to that fact? He was not infallible and he had human weaknesses.

He was a just man and yet he was just a man.

But it is not good to throw out the baby with the bath water. The LDS doctrine is good. Very good. Nearer to the truth than most other doctrines on earth.

We do not fit into the church in many ways, but I believe in the truth about God, Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon. My belief calls me to strive to live a good life according to the commandments of God. But I fall short in the eyes of the church because I do not attend, hold callings, go to temple, live the Word of Wisdom, etc. (I do pay tithing though.) I miss Relief Society and am thankful for home teachers.

Hold onto the good that comes from God. And that includes your membership in the church. Continue to pray for enlightenment, discernment and spiritual guidance. You should do this whether or not you choose to stay or go.

My husband does not want to be a part of the church and that saddens me. I am on the outside, pressing my eager face on the window looking in.

You are fortunate. I was a convert and have asked many questions. Would you care to share yours? I'd love to hear them...because I have asked so many myself. And still ask.








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Yes, people can certainly be 'Mormon' in name, but not be 'Mormon' in character or lifestyle. We must each pray and ask and then make those eternal traits part of our character, with the help of Christ. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is an earthly organization. Are its doctrines truth? Yes. The Lord established His teachings anciently during Old Testament times. Many times they were lost and given to others who would accept them and live the laws, but each time they were rejected again and again. Then Heavenly Father sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ. He established His teachings and taught the order of the Church; yet, He was also rejected, and killed but He had established the pattern. Once again, truth was lost. His Apostles were killed. Truths were distorted and changed and lost. Earth entered the Dark Ages. In the 1800's the Lord's truth was totally restored to this earth through His servant, the Prophet Joseph Smith, never to be taken from the world again. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is His earthly Church/organization for us. It's doctrines are truths. How do I know this? I am a convert to the Church. I investigated and lived several other churches teachings... much good was learned from that. But I studied and prayed about the LDS Church and about the Book of Mormon, and I KNOW they contain all the revealed truth and teachings. In Heaven, there will be TRUTH lived and taught. The truth that is contained in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but I don't believe we will need an actual physical organization called 'The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints'. Everyone who accepts and lives these truths will be 'Saints' I guess :). Truth is Truth. If we are to abide with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, we will need to live and embody those truths/laws that are being taught in His Church on earth right now. Those truths are Eternal, and were given to us to help us be able to live joyfully. I see someone asked about women not being allowed to preach in 'Mormon meetings'? Oh we sure are! Have you seen General Conference? Have you been to Church to a Sacrament meeting yet? Even our youth, girls included, are asked to give talks. The Primary and Relief Society are headed up by women. I struggle just like everyone; but I try to keep in mind the Lord's love for me and the great gift of the Atonement. I ponder back to the strong witness I have of the truthfulness of the Book of Mormon. I keep a journal of joy and of spiritual things and I read it to buoy me up from time to time. May each of us try to live as Christ Jesus taught, this day. Care for one another and be happy. HUGS Bev :) [url]http://bevscountrycottage.com/beliefs.html[/url]

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believing I believe is a very difficult concept. I mean what is it really to believe??? We say we have the faith to believe but what is faith?? We can't go to a shop to get faith. We can't just wake up one morning and say "toady I have faith" and faith isn't tangible it is just a word and a word which is so often used very lightly just because we are 'suppose' to have faith. I believe that we do things because it feels right. Being in the church for me is extremely difficult but somehow it feels like what I am suppose to be doing. I fight it every step of the way and sometimes feel like running away and hiding but something in me knows that it is what I am suppose to be doing whether I am doing it well or not. However the expectation of doing it 'well' is SO overwhelming that sometimes it seems a futile exercise because if your not being good enough you can't have the prize at the end. So tell me is it all worth the stress, guilt and heartache when your probably not going to make it anyhow???

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I have lived in Utah my whole life but my family has never been "Utah" Mormon. We aren't very cultural. My sister is 20 with three little girls under the age of 5 and unmarried. My brother is almost 24 and serving a mission after serving in the Navy for two years and going to the Naval Academy's prep school and Annapolis. My mother was physically abusive and yet attended the temple. My father often didn't go to church but always told me that "the Church is true, the people aren't". He always had a very strong testimony. I don't scrapbook, read Twilight and I KNOW that every word that drops from a GA's mouth is not Heavenly Father's own personal opinion. Many Church members are cultural Mormons who are there because they don't want to disappoint their families. However, the more I have lived and the more I have studied the Church, as well as other denominations, the stronger my testimony has become. My husband is from California, but he was raised very "Utah". My MIL's only hobbies are watching the food channel, working at the temple, and doing family history. She has boxes of scrapbooking materials she will "get to some day". My husband's family is full of despicable, church-going people who lie, cheat, steal, and molest other family members and no one does anything because they want to be "Christlike" and "not cause contention". He was raised to think that everyone in the Church is good, everyone out of the Church is bad, and that if a General Authority. bishop or stake president says it, it's doctrine. It was difficult for him to understand that even though things aren't as black and white as he was raised to believe, that the doctrines are still true. For him, the turning point was when he realized that the flaws in members and the flaws in the leadership come down to agency. We have a loving Heavenly Father who does not force us to do or say the perfect thing every time. How else would we learn. Stop and think about what the world would be like if we all our decisions were made for us. I don't think I can post links, but my husband found fairlds.org very helpful. It is a Mormon apologetics (defense) site. They have answers to everything you can think of to ask and things you never thought to ask. It is run by devout members who take the arguments and criticisms from anti- and ex- Mormons and research them out. I do know that this is God's true church restored to the Earth. Despite being offended, made fun of and having my house vandalized by the "upstanding" miscreants in my ward growing up (and at BYU), I know this is God's plan for us. The fact that such wide disparities in behavior and knowledge of right and wrong exist is a testimony to me of a loving Heavenly Father who allows us to fail and learn on our own terms and will never force us to follow Him. My husband's mother and my mother both tried to use force to get our siblings to go to Church. It just drove them further away. Force is not God's plan. If you ever need a laugh about Mormon culture, visit seriouslysoblessed.com. It's a fake Mormon mommy blog. The satire is so spot on it's hilarious! (It's even funnier when people think it's real.)Sometimes when I feel fed up with living with my sanctimonious MIL and being trapped in Utah, I read it for a good laugh.

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Welcome BunnyLamb to the BellaOnline Forums and I am so glad to see that you have started to post. Have an AWESOME day/night.

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I know this is super old and probably nobody is reading it any more, but I somehow stumbled across it today and it is the reason I registered on this site- I figured I'd respond anyway. I would say I'm pretty much doing that, but I don't intend to do it for many more years. At this point my husband and I don't believe at all. I consider myself agnostic- the idea that we have a loving God who wants to help us is a nice one and I'd like it to be true, I'm just not sure that it is. I don't believe in the divine origin of scripture at all. We explained our position in a lengthy conversation with our bishop when they tried to give us teaching callings, and I have been mostly pleased with the result. I don't feel like we've been treated differently, and I don't think they've spread it around the ward by any means. I assume the whole bishopric knows, but at least one of their wives (the one I sometimes hang out with) seems not to know. We currently hold callings that don't require us to teach (he's a pianist, I'm a secretary). My main difficulty comes when I consider my young, growing family. My latest baby was not blessed (we were able to slip that one under the ward's radar), and we don't intend for any of our children to be baptized- that one will not go unnoticed. For the most part I see the church as a positive organization full of well-intentioned leaders and members, but there are a few doctrines, policies, and procedures that I think can actually be harmful. If we stay half-way in like this, we will eventually be found out, and we'll undoubtedly become the ward "project family." With genuinely good intentions all my kids' teachers, friends, and friends' parents will try extra hard to convince them, guilt them, and peer pressure them into believing, getting baptized, serving missions, etc. One day I made a list of all the things I would really miss about the church if I were to cut it out of my life completely, then I made another list of different ways to fulfil those needs and desires. One of the BIG ones is the social network of fairly like-minded people. I love the instant group of connections you get when you move to a new place- for the most part they are positive, friendly, try to avoid harmful behavior/activities, and have a healthy focus on family, self-improvement, self-reliance, and service. I'm not yet ready to make my break (I still live very close to active, believing family and friends), but when I do I've got some places to look for a replacement. A few items on my list: regular volunteering (try out some different ones until I find one or more favorites), community choir or orchestra, maybe even theater, outdoor recreation (you can make good friends on a hiking trail if you're open to it), community college classes for fun, more creative and frequent date nights. Good luck! Hopefully you've already got your own situation figured out by now, but it just feels good to get my thoughts out there anyway.

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