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  1. So I have a close friend that I have been struggling to give advice to. She has a boyfriend that isn't LDS, and they have been dating for 5+ years. She went off the deep end with this boyfriend, but went to her bishop and got things cleared up. In the past few years I've seen her flourish in her testimony of the gospel, in all aspects of her life and she's been a huge example to me in that. Recently her and this boyfriend have been getting serious again, and she came to me for advice, she's not sure if she believes in parts of the gospel, she struggles with abstaining until marriage in aspects of the relationship. She keeps asking me why the lord would put boundaries on us if these things are so great, and how many other religions have the same beliefs but she feels like she's tied down with the LDS church standards. I tried to explain to her the best I could that the lord doesn't set some boundaries to hold us back, but to help us focus on the bigger picture of life, and looking past what the world says we should and shouldn't do. She seems to agree, and the frustrating part, she admits to me that she knows that she shouldn't do those things, but she's not sure if she can wait till marriage. I have told her countless times that I know that I will support her no matter what, and I will always love her free from judgement, but I feel like there's more I could say from a spiritual aspect that might help her. I know it's her life and she will make her own decisions, I just hate to see her do something that she regrets or has worse consequences from Any advice on this situation? --A struggling friend
  2. It seems we have lots of people coming on with testimony struggles. A CES Devotional to address just that topic: "Worldwide Devotional to Focus on Strengthening Testimony", May 3 at 6:00 p.m. mountain daylight time by Elder Lynn G. Robbins of the Presidency of the Seventy. Online at The speaker says: “I want to describe to you how I came to know that He is the literal Son of God, the Redeemer and Savior of the world, and that His gospel is true,” Elder Robbins said. “I also want to help you discover that your own testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ and His gospel is much stronger than you think it is.” See how evaluating where you are on the faith spectrum and assessing how you can grow and how you can get there has the potential to change your life. Source:〈=eng
  3. Im just not sure where to start. So i use to be very strict member. I never drank, did drugs, my family and i didn't watch rated R movies went to church every sunday. I was good, and tried to have my family be good too. And it felt good. But i started having problems in my marriage, the out come was finding out my husband was cheating on me, doing drugs, and drinking. All that i had suspected but he lied to my face about till he decided to come clean. He was last in the church for a while but i encouraged him always to go. After all this my husband and i separated for a month total. Then got back together. It might sound dumb but its not really a situation you can judge unless you're in that situation. Anyway my husband when completely inactive, kept doing pot (not anymore even tho he wants to) drinking and stopped wearing his garments. I was good and tried to keep going to church. But i have two kids. 1 not old enough for nursery and i was so depressed despret for answers and comfort. answers and comfort i didn't receive roaming the halls or church for 3 hours. i felt unwelcome, i prayed desperately for someone to notice me, to be inspired and reach out....but no one did. so i slowly fell away from activity, stopped saying my prayers and going to church. And i started drinking. Now as it stands i still wear my garments, and my husband and i are working things out, we started saying family prayers again. and are buying a new house and plan on returning to church. The thing is I have never stopped believing the church i doubt it for a second. So i did things that were wrong knowing that they were wrong. And the drinking i seem to be having a hard time giving up. I want to feel the way it did before... good, loved. a worthy member of the church. I don't feel that way and I'm scared i never will again. I don't know what to do be be that person, to have my kids love the gosspile the way i know they should. I'm just scared and don't know what to do......
  4. Hey my name is Bill Reel. I live in Sandusky Ohio near Cedar Point (America's largest roller coaster park). I am 35 years old and joined the church as a convert at 17 years old. I am the only member of my family but my wife's side are members. I had a major faith crisis and after having worked through it, I started a podcast called MormonDiscussion found at as an effort to help people in the midst of a faith crisis know they are not alone. I have served as a Bishop and I want to help others so please don't hesitate to ask me anything. I have been interviewed By FAIR and also another podcast along with my own. I also moderated a panel discussion at FAIR's conferemce this year the Loss and Rekindling of Faith Any way that's the Short version. And here is the long story of my faith struggle. I encountered the restored gospel at the age of 17. I was in my senior year of High School and began dating a LDS girl. Before long, I was taking the missionary discussions and reading up on everything Mormon. In my desire to take in all information about the Church I discovered a book at my local library, Fawn Brodie's “No Man Knows My History”. This book was critical of the Church and painted Joseph Smith as a fraud. I read it and it was counter to everything the missionaries had taught me and testified of. This occurred while still taking the discussions and preparing for baptism; and caused me to delve deeper into Mormonism by exploring for the first time LDS apologetics. While studying the faithful answers to the issues this book and others critical sources raised I became aware that Mormonism was a very deep subject with an infinite number of branches of information one could study and research. I found sites like FAIR, Book of Mormon Answerman, SHIELDS, and JEFF LINDSAY'S apologetic web pages. These sites along with a divine answer to prayer gave me the answers that allowed me to settle these tough issues in my mind and to proceed with baptism. Once baptized my seeking didn't subsist. I continued looking for more history, doctrine, and discussion on anything Mormon. There was a major flaw in my persistence to learn about the Church. The flaw was that very few other Latter-Day Saints in my Ward and likely Stake had approached their faith this way. This led to me being one of the most informed members even at a young age and just recently converted. Missionaries came to me when tough questions arose. When I shared a fact in Sunday School or Priesthood, the look on members faces said “I didn't know that”. My ability to speak without a written talk and to pull scriptures out my head was frankly superior to most around me. This built a false assumption in my world view that in being the most informed in my home area, meant that my answers and framework and views were the most enlightened. That in essence I had a better foundation and the most correct view. The other issue which is a major contributor was the inability to separate Doctrine, Policy, Opinion, and Culture. Coming into the Ward as a 17 year old convert causes one to naturally rely on others for the wisdom of how to arrive at the real Mormonism. Leaning on older members to show me the sources of wisdom and truth from where I should seek truth. Members pointed me to books like Bruce R McConkie's “Mormon Doctrine”, Joseph Fielding Smith's “Doctrines of Salvation” and “Man, His Origin and Destiny” along with many others. I had come to see these men as not only Prophets, Seers, and Revelators; but also as infallible. If one was a general authority, then I assumed when they spoke to the Church it was safe to assume they were speaking the mind and will of God. That their books and talks were prophetic extensions of their mantle. That they could be trusted as such left me inserting every principle they taught into my framework as truth. Looking back it is easy to pick out, that while I had arrived at answers and solutions, I had done so in a very dogmatic way. The trouble was that I, and most others I assume, don't have the ability to see that little but important piece of information in the midst of living it. I assumed my answers were complete and informed and workable. I believed that if anyone posed a critical problem to me I could spout back the perfect answer. Missionaries took any chance they could to seek me out for answers and for me to expound on deeper subjects. When they encountered a opposing minister or a investigator with deep questions, I was asked to go along on the appointment. In the midst of this misplaced trust in my own intellectual framework, I also moved up quickly in leadership in the Church. My first calling weeks after baptism was as the Assistant Ward Mission Leader. Not long after I was ordained an Elder and called as a counselor in the EQ presidency. Over the next 5 years I served in 4 more EQ presidencies, a Young Men's presidency, and then was called as EQ president. After a 2 year stint as EQ president I was called as a counselor in a Bishopric at the age of 26. Then at 29 I was called to be the Bishop of my home Ward. All of these callings came quickly, one after the other and in many ways contributed to a feeling of security, that I had things figured out and God was aware of it. To some extent I want to call it pride, though it wasn't the haughty pride that many think of when that word was used. I genuinely loved the Gospel, I genuinely enjoyed magnifying callings and helping others. I genuinely enjoyed giving talks and serving those around me. But in my recognizing that I was more informed and that God trusted me with serious responsibility at a young age, I became to secure that my framework and foundation was authentic and realistic and in that sense I had become prideful. Then the crash came. Little by little over the years I had small faith crises. I would discover some fact, and then I would struggle for a week or two until I discovered the answer. I was prone to doubt you could say. Don't get me wrong, I have had spiritual experiences that would to most likely hold them firm in the faith but to some extent I must have a little bit of Laman and Lemuel in me. I was always clinging to the next faith promoting fact or the next answer to a critical question. I could never settle down and be still but rather was always searching for the empirical truth one way or the other. While my crash occurred while serving as a Bishop, it was not due to being a Bishop. The calling was awesome and in many ways blessed me in my crisis and gave me access to experiences that helped me to hold on. My crash occurred over my realization that my framework and foundation were faulty. I don't remember it coming on slowly though I assume in many ways it did. Looking back it feels as though it was a sudden overnight thing. It seems I just woke up one morning and thought to myself, The Church is likely not true, and it certainly is not what it claims. At this point all the light in my eyes left me. I begin to deeply struggle and to feel the weight of this matter in a profound way. It now became absolutely necessary to get to the bottom of it. There is a word that is used often called Cognitive dissonance – which means “the discomfort experienced when simultaneously holding two or more conflicting cognitions”. In other words I had in my mind the belief that the Church was True and that it was also False, and this issue was so important to my mind that there was a serious conflict going on physically to resolve it. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't set it aside and think about anything else. I spent every waking moment thinking through the issues and arguments on both sides and trying to find that empirical piece of evidence that would let me me once and for all make a determination of lasting final conclusion. I began getting angry and frustrated and having a bit of sarcasm as I worked through these issues. I must stop here and make mention that this anger did not affect me in the Church setting. In fact Sundays were the one day when all felt right and all was well, except Sundays would end and Mondays brought a renewed focus on the truth claims of the Church. During my weeks I became more and more concerned that I had been deceived, that the Church was indeed NOT true. It never occurred to me that rather then the Church not being true because it didn't meet my expectations or my assumptions, that it was my assumptions and expectations that needed adjusted. Take Evolution for example. I had been taught by the words of Prophets and Apostles that Evolution was not only wrong but a heresy. I exclaimed this truth at every chance I could take. Then one day while studying information about the earth and creation, it hits me that there may be more to Evolution then I had first given it credit. Now imagine that this happens with a 100 other subjects around the same time – Age of the earth?, divinity of the Book of Abraham?, Where's the real Hill Cumorah? The motive behind polygamy and polyandry?, and many many more. Now imagine when you trust a leader to always be speaking for God and to always be on his errand. This leaves no room for error. When I saw leaders and their teachings in this very defined and delineated way it only allowed for a very black and white way of seeing things. While this “Black and White” world may be an easy way for most of us to live by, it does not account and allow for the complexity and diversity in our experiences and world. While in this deep faith crisis, I didn't dare tell anyone. I worried that that since I knew more then they did about our history, they would at minimum not be able to answer my questions and at worst I would destroy their faith. I also realized the stigma that doubt has had at times in our Church, and a Bishop with doubt would, I perceived, be seen in even a lesser light. So I kept it in and spoke to no-one for the longest time. But little by little, I realized I was sinking further to the conclusion the Church was not what it claimed. While in the stage of anger, bitterness, and sarcasm I decided that if the Church is true there has to be other ways to see things and that others have to have answers. I begin searching on the internet for people who delved as deep or deeper into these subjects. I located some podcasts (online audio programs) and some internet discussion boards that allowed for me to both listen to people who thought of things differently and to ask different online communities tough questions and see how they answer them. Both of these were helpful in that they showed me that there were other people who were just as aware of the problems and yet they were able to make things work, and better yet explain to me how they did so. As I waded my way through these views and answers, it became apparent that those who knew this stuff and still had faith, had rebuilt their foundation and framework on a different set of assumptions and expectations then I had. It was apparent that If I was to regain faith, I would have to attempt to tear it all down and rebuild it. Not only rebuild it though, but do so in a way that was honest and reasonable. I begin to look at older sources for quotes from leaders giving flexibility to what is Doctrine and what isn't. I began to look at issues and see if they really were framed the way I thought they were. It caused me to look inwardly and be self-honest about why things did or didn't fit and if there were other possible ways to view these issues in. I also realized that members of the Church didn't fit a mold and that while many members of my ward did seem to see things in a common way that in reality there was not just one form of Mormonism That outside of a very small set of commonly held beliefs, that there was plenty of room for flexibility and diversity. That while in my ward I felt alone and outside of the accepted tent of Mormonism, that worldwide I fit very comfortably in the actual tent. Once I began to recognize that this new framework was in reality a better and more realistic approach, I saw room for faith again. Suddenly the anger subsided, and the bitterness was swept away. Just as getting into the Crisis was a long process so was coming out of it. A one step back, two step forward kind of model. But finally I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. This new approach, while giving me back my faith, admittedly placed me more outside the norm for our ward. And while this comes with some added tension at times, I must say, I relish it. By that I mean it does not cause me overwhelming anger or sadness, but rather I realize I have paid a price for this view and I cherish it. I simply acknowledge that we are all different and that it is wrong of me to impose this new framework on others and that we are better to act as guides in safely leading someone through this transition and not force the transition itself.. I also attempt to let others know by the way I speak and the words I use that I am a safe person to approach with tough questions. I also should say here that while I have told the story from an intellectual point of view, you should not assume there was not a spiritual aspect to this journey. There were prayers, both answered and unanswered. There were miracles both those requested and those that came unexpectedly. There were spiritual experiences some of such a divine nature as to be beyond an emotional response of the brain. God never left my side through this entire journey and while things didn't happen as I had pleaded for them to, they happened none the less. In response to my crisis and noticing that many sites and groups have answers and many validate the struggle that a faith crisis is, very few do both; I created a podcast MormonDiscussion. This podcast discusses both the intricate parts of a faith crisis helping those in the midst of one deal with the emotional ride that they are but also “Leading with Faith” as Elder Holland has asked us to do. The podcast can be found at Mormon Discussion : Faith & Doubt My name is Bill Reel. I used to be a knower, but now I am believer. While I hope to get back to a place of having a perfect knowledge, I am now comfortable having a faith that is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of which not seen” Heb 11:1. I am grateful for God's Grace and the atonement of my Savior and want all to know specifically that this place I am at is way more beautiful then where I was even before the Crisis.
  5. This is a very tender thing for me. I've long since thought that I am a forgiving and compassionate person; that I will not judge someone unrighteously and allow those who have made mistakes to move on without my weighing them down. But... I'm bitter... and I'm having a hard time letting go. I grew up striving to do the right things. Never smoked or drank alcohol or did drugs of any kind. No relationship i had advanced beyond a romantic kiss as far as the physical intimacy went. I always have had a strong testimony and hunger for greater knowledge and faith. My wife grew up in the church but had a rebellious period. She used drugs, mostly drank alcohol, had multiple sexual relationships prior to me, has had piercings, and tattoos. Now when I met her she was on her way back. She was getting away from her troubled last relationship to a man she was engaged to, she was all but stopped drinking/partying... she just wanted to make get back on track. Without being involved too much in the repentance process, I was nevertheless a part of her journey back. She was a lot different than any girl I had dated... notwithstanding her indiscretions she was very, VERY smart. We had many things in common and after months of consecutive days I was in love with this strong, beautiful girl. We've been married for about a year now, and I love her more now than I did then; however, it has been a nearly constant struggle for me to forget the past. I'm embarrassed, and I wish it were not the case, but I find myself putting myself in a position of judging whether her attitudes and guilt are sufficient for repentance. That is NOT the role I want to be in, while at the same time, I feel a responsibility as her eternal companion to help her develop spiritually. I just want to be the best companion that I can be to her. I recognize very well that I am not perfect, while at the same time I feel like I have a lot to offer someone who fell in the pitfalls that I avoided. I DO feel at times that I can identify certain tendencies that explain and were potentially the cause of her indiscretions in the past, and it's very hard for me to prevent my mind from flooding with visions of what could result if I don't at least say something. BUT it's at this point that she feels like all her effort to become better is set at naught because of something I can't let go of. So here I am... I feel like I can do better than I am, and that our relationship would be that much better if I could just get over my own stumbling blocks. Any advice, thoughts, personal insights that may help me? Thank You!