Inquest

I don’t know about you guys, but for me, learning and questions go hand-in-hand. The more I learn, the more questions I have, thus prompting me to search for a deeper understanding. This holds true for every opportunity I have to learn, which i’d like to think happens rather frequently.

The one aspect in my life in which I seem to have the most questions lately happens to be that of religion. As i’ve mentioned before, I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. As you can imagine, my progressive, feminist beliefs mix with my conservative, patriarchal religion like oil and water, leaving me with a constant state of intense internal battle, and a series of never-ending, snowballing questions.

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but the LDS church has been known to excommunicate those who vocalize their questions and personal belief systems if they do not comply with the Church’s teachings. To me, this is completely heart-breaking. This religion, in which we are taught that we have a loving set of spiritual parents, and that we are sent to this earth to figure out how to get ourselves back to them, does not seem to allow much wiggle room for personal inquiry.

We were given free-thinking minds to be able to learn for ourselves what we believe is true and good, and I intend to use mine. Like I said, when I learn new things, I don’t tend to just accept them the way they are without searching for a deeper understanding. In my opinion, it’s natural to have questions. As my philosophy teacher has made it abundantly clear, very few things in this life are certain, and we as humankind understand virtually none of it.

The understanding we do have, however, comes from inquiring minds who have a thirst to know more. Observations turn into questions, which turn into research, experiments, etc. I’m sure you all understand the Scientific Method. What i’m saying, is this method is wholly applicable not only to our physical world, but to our spirituality, as well.

There is an overwhelming emphasis for each member of the Church to develop his/her OWN testimony regarding the things of the Gospel. I don’t see how one can obtain such testimony without developing individual questions and searching for personal truth. Why, then, is there disciplinary action for doing so?

Not trying to be a problem-solver here, but I feel like the last thing people with doubts or questions need is isolation from their community. We all go through times where we’re not sure about what we believe, and have questioned things. Those of us with fragile testimonies need support and encouragement in finding peace and truth within our religious realms.

The God I believe in loves us each on an individual basis, regardless of our doubts or questions, and even though He does not give us all the answers we are looking for, I’d like to think that he supports our search for truth and knowledge.

These issues have been tearing me apart lately, and I have found myself more puzzled than ever. From the perspective of one who has doubts and questions, I empathize greatly with those who have received disciplinary action for voicing their questions and seeking more understanding.

I dunno, it’s hard not to get lost when you’re drowning in questions.

M.

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24 thoughts on “Inquest

  1. Oh a hundred percent, I love that these questions are being raised. I think we all have these questions, I know I have struggled as well. My heart breaks for Kate Kelly because I know a hundred percent she didn’t believe that what she was doing was wrong. And I think she had a righteous cause. The only issue is what she was demanding. It wasn’t her place to demand the priesthood of the church. She petitioned for them to ask and receive revelation about the particular issue on the church. They gave her an answer that she continued to ignore. Essentially, she was asking to change the church. Which isn’t something you can demand. She ignored the requests of the presiding authority. I guess, it all comes down to faith. Heavenly father has his reasoning for things. And it’s frustrating as all get out when not everything adds up. I’ve found with certain issues that I’ve had regarding the church I keep having to break it down to the bare gospel and the very core of everything and remind myself that I believe in those principles and if I have to have faith for now until everything else makes sense, that’s really what it comes down to. A LOT of things don’t make sense or don’t feel right in my heart. But the majority of the gospel brings me peace and I know is true. When I was having my biggest issues with the church a lot of people said “you have to believe all of it or none of it” which is bull shit because I felt like everyone was discounting the faith I did have. Religion is personal. And yours. I’m not sure where I’m going with this anymore. So I’m ending it here.

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  2. While i will most certainly go harrass another blog my prior post had to do with referencing you asking a troll if they needed a hug, which i found funny and who then accused you of enjoying white privilege. Thus the joke

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  3. Joseph Smith: “I stated that the most prominent difference between the Latter-Day Saints and sectarians was, that the latter were all circumscribed by some peculiar creed, which deprived its members the privilege of believing anything not contained therein, whereas the Latter- day Saints have no creed, but are ready to believe all true principles that exist as they are manifest from time to time.” (DHC 5: 215)

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  4. In 1843 the High Council was quite concerned about the teachings of a certain Elder named Pelatiah Brown even though Joseph Smith called him “one of the wisest old heads we have among us.” Of this Joseph Smith said, “I did not like the old man being called up for erring in doctrine. It looks too much like the Methodists, and not like the Latter-Day Saints. Methodists have creeds which a man must believe or be asked out of their church. I want the liberty of thinking and believing as I please. It feels so good not to be trammeled. It does not prove that a man is not a good man because he errs in doctrine.” (DHC 5:340)

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  5. I understand excommunicating people who are leading other members astray, I guess, but I think that it becomes problematic in the cases of people like Kate Kelly and John Dehlin because a lot (and I mean A LOT) of members have similar questions to theirs, and I think if anything, it’s assuring and strengthening to search for answers together rather than by yourself. I find comfort in the fact that other people are experiencing similar doubts and questions to mine, and that some people have different insights on how cope with such questions in a way that allows them to reach a peaceful ground in regards to their religion and personal beliefs.

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  6. So these are just some thoughts I have had. While excommunication can seem like a punishment, it isnt meant to be so. Generally, (and I do mean generally. There are if course examples of people being unrightly excommunicated) if questions are being asked it goes more to your actions in response. With a few examples it’s generally when people take their questions and lead others down paths not marked. With Kate Kelly she had the right to protest and bring up the matter with the first presidency. The living prophets of course gave her their answer. She continued to fight. When you’re excommunicated you’re basically released from your covenants. There are some consequences in the after life for breaking covenants. This is the churchs way of allowing people who aren’t accepting of the churchs revlations and doctrine to be released from their covenants. They can come back to the church in good standing when their faith and testimony are centered with the church. I’m not entirely articulate or very knowledgeable about the church. But with my questions which I have PLENTY, this gave me a little more peace towards the excommunications. My heart is still broken for them, but I do believe it is done out of love.

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  7. I can’t imagine how anyone can claim to be a feminist and Christian at the same time, I can’t think of anything in the bible off and that dose not reek of misogyny. I am glad for you being so inclined ‘though, especially in the face of excommunication, there is nothing so horrible in the world as losing one’s family, which I expect that’s what happens?

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  8. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a thoughtful comment! I am by no means a spiritual expert, but when I have questions I ask God. I can’t really think of anyone more important or qualified to answer. Sometimes it is good to talk to other people, but I think it’s always good to go back to God and ask “is this true?”.

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  9. Let’s repeat what happened here because you seem to be a bit confused. YOU came to my blog and left a negative comment without fully reading the blog. You clearly are from some small town and use hashtag feminist to get likes. Take care of your own issues. Goodbye.

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  10. “I dunno, it’s hard not to get lost when you’re drowning in questions.”
    Yeah, clearly, you have many questions and you should take care of your OWN issues before criticizing others when you clearly can’t even read. But you’re the feminist right? ha.

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  11. Before you leave negative comments on other people’s blogs, you should take a second and think: wait, do I have any right to do that? Considering you were the one who came to my blog to ask ME if I had the right to express my own thoughts? You clearly didn’t read the post because in it, I mentioned it was written in humor. Please take a moment before you go to other’s blogs and leave nasty comments. You are no feminist.

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  12. Wow, that is some great insight. I have never thought about it that way before, but I think you’re right! We all have our own paths, and we all have varying degrees of testimonies and knowledge of the Gospel and what is true, and most importantly, we all have questions. I just find it really discouraging and problematic that people are being disciplined for acting on the questions they do have. Thank you so much for your insight!

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  13. Your post reminds me of John 3:8. Many people think Jesus is trying to describe the Spirit, that it’s like the wind: something you can feel but can’t see. However, I think Jesus is describing people who are being acted upon by the Spirit. Like leaves in the wind, each person has their own path and no two are the same. Yet we’re all acted upon by the same wind, the same Spirit, being blown in the same direction towards God. Don’t follow men. Don’t conform. Keep asking questions and find God on your own path. Hang in there! You’re awesome!

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