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MetalHead

Feel Synthetic...

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I have a huge problem concerning my faith and testimony here...

First off, I am a youth member at Seattle First Ward, 17 years old, and like the only young man there. All the other youth go to 3rd Ward, but that is a 25 minute drive away from my house, and First Ward is only like 5 min from my house. Anyhow, I am having a huge problem with my testimony here. Everyone at 3rd ward acts and seems completely spotless (except for like 2 kids). But as for me, well...

To understand here, I love death metal, but I dont dress like it (seriously), I like video games (like every teenage guy), and I hang out with kids whom dont seem to 'fit' in any school categorey.

But the problem is that, every time I go to seminary, church, youth group, the combination of 'perfect' kids, beating-you-into-submission kind of lessons, synthetic atmosphere, really makes me feel like a pile of crap, and gets me thinking to myself, "is this how life is supposed to be?". It really frusterates me, and what makes it even worse is that I like a girl there, but she is really 'pure' but nice at the same time, which really makes me frusterated even more! I try not to concern about these things, but this crawls up my butt every time I try to forget about it. I really hate family home evenings (which we rarely do), my dad is not part of the church and has divorced my mom a while back. It's just this hokyness of a atmosphere is really making me mad. I've told this to my bishop and freinds over and over again, but they dont seem offer any help with those same awnsers. I tried reading the scriptures, but that only made me feel more synthetic. Is there something wrong with me? What am I supposed to do? What is it?

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First of all, welcome! You will make good friends here, who have been down the same path before. I was 17, too, once. At that age you are still trying to define yourself. Finding your identity can be a struggle, especially with so many external influences. I'm 39 and I still listen to the same music that I did when I was 17, and I still enjoy video games. But I no longer define myself by the influences of my favorite lead singer in a band, or my favorite sports hero, etc.

As I grew older and stripped away all those influences, I began to find myself because I realized that I didn't need to fit in to any particular group. This is when I began to develop my relationship with the Lord. This is when I found out my true identity. Friends and fads will come and go throughout your life and even through your later years, but you will begin to find out that the things that you value most are those who value you the most.

You are a son of God. Whatever in life you decide you want to become (death metal band member, plumber, video game professional, etc), these things end up being what you do for a living, for fun, or for diversion, but they don't really define who you are inside. Once you find out for yourself who you are inside, you will realize that this is where your true self esteem comes from. It won't matter what others think of you or the kind of life you live or your family circumstances are, etc.

Everyone else your age is trying to fit in, feel accepted and define their own personality, which is why everyone your age tries to develop an identity. The more time you spend on, say video games, the better you will become at them. I was an expert at all the games I played and I still consider myself pretty darn good. Your coordination will be superior and your reflexes unmatched. My point is that if you also take a little bit of time to begin developing a relationship with Father in Heaven by saying one small prayer every day and reading a small scripture every day, you will begin to notice a change in you. Your faith will begin to build and you will begin to feel the Spirit working in you and the gospel radiating in your life. Your faith will become stronger and it will grow and you will gain a testimony. God will always grant you according to the desire of your heart. Start thinking deep down, what it is that you really want for yourself. Forget about all your friends, the music, that girl and think about you for a day. What will truly give you peace? For me it is building and strengthening my relationship with Father in Heaven.

Anyway, sorry for rambling. I know what you're going through. You can find peace and happiness. Just think about the true source of that and seek it. Best wishes.

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hi metal head

Just wanted to say that my son who is 18 has had been in scremo bands since he was about 13 and loves it. He has had his own style of dressing and hair since he was about 15. He definitely doesn't fit into the "traditional" church boy appearance. Sometimes it has been a huge struggle for him with church because he is friends with a huge variety of people. And many of them don't fit the mold either. In many ways it has helped him to grow his relationship with heavenly father. He will be 19 in december and knows who his heavenly father is. He has always been a good kid in my eyes. He has never given us any real trouble. Sometimes it is just hard for people to see that you can play lead guitar and scream for a band and bless the sacrament on sunday. They really do both fit together just fine. I am sorry your struggling right now. Hang in there. Heavenly father knows who you are and loves you. It will get easier as you grow to know your heavenly father. My 15 yr old son loves video games and laughs when I try to play with him (I am not very good). Just be yourself and include your heavenly father in your struggles and you will become closer to him. I can't promise that life will get easier, but you will be able to deal with the problems that come your way better if you take them to the lord. My son asks for help before he goes on stage and I think heavenly father gives it to him. I know where I live sometimes I think there is a mistaken idea of who heavenly father is there to help and love. I think he wants to help all and doesn't expect us to fit a mold to help us. In my case I have seen him use the individuality of my boys to accomplish things others haven't been able to. My son and his band were driving to the studio and talking about religion. He is the only one that is lds. They asked a lot about the church and it's beleifs. He was able to reassure them that we are christian and point out how many things they have in common with beleif. They did tell him that he was the only mormon they would have asked because they didn't want to be converted but they had questions. My 15 yr old son has a friend that only leaves the house when he comes here to play video games. I think my son is the only friend he has. I think heavenly father uses my sons great heart and his love of video games to reach this other boy and give him an out from home. I hope some of this encourage you a little. I guess what I wanted to say most is that being different is a good thing. And if you don't fit in with your church group now that is ok, I never really did. The most important thing is getting to know your heavenly father.:cool:

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Metalhead,

The answer isn't to be concerned about what other kids think of you. The answer is to focus on what your relationship with God is.

Sounds like you have your focus on worldly things on many occasions, which is separating you from gospel standards. How much do you wish to follow God? I'm not asking that you be perfect, as none of us are. I'm asking how intensely do you plan on following God? Is he just a side thought for you, or do you have an intense love and desire to be with God and have His Spirit?

Points you've made: not going on a mission, some minor rebelling, judging other LDS kids for doing what they feel is right, etc., shows you have some spiritual growing up to do.

While you may love heavy metal, I would suggest you spend a month or so just listening to the kind of music that increases the Spirit. Metal tends to stir up the soul to confusion and rebellion, as do some other forms of music. The Spirit whispers to us, and we cannot hear it when the sounds around us are blaring.

You don't have to choose to be like the other kids. You do need to choose to follow God. Listen quietly, meditate, on what God wants you to do with your life. It probably will require a major overhaul of at least portions of your life, but it will eternally be worth it. We humans tend to be very selfish and self-centered, and judge others by who we are. God wants us instead, to focus on being a servant to all, and a true follower of Christ. You are missing out on many amazing spiritual experiences by going down the easy road of life, rather than taking the road of courage to follow God.

Missions and serving Christ are not easy. But at the end of your life, you will be able to look fondly back and realize you actually made a difference in the world. As Thoreau once said, too many people die before they ever really begin to live. And life is only enriched by giving it away in service and good works, not in piling up material goods for ourselves.

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I have a huge problem concerning my faith and testimony here...

First off, I am a youth member at Seattle First Ward, 17 years old, and like the only young man there. All the other youth go to 3rd Ward, but that is a 25 minute drive away from my house, and First Ward is only like 5 min from my house. Anyhow, I am having a huge problem with my testimony here. Everyone at 3rd ward acts and seems completely spotless (except for like 2 kids). But as for me, well...

To understand here, I love death metal, but I dont dress like it (seriously), I like video games (like every teenage guy), and I hang out with kids whom dont seem to 'fit' in any school categorey.

But the problem is that, every time I go to seminary, church, youth group, the combination of 'perfect' kids, beating-you-into-submission kind of lessons, synthetic atmosphere, really makes me feel like a pile of crap, and gets me thinking to myself, "is this how life is supposed to be?". It really frusterates me, and what makes it even worse is that I like a girl there, but she is really 'pure' but nice at the same time, which really makes me frusterated even more! I try not to concern about these things, but this crawls up my butt every time I try to forget about it. I really hate family home evenings (which we rarely do), my dad is not part of the church and has divorced my mom a while back. It's just this hokyness of a atmosphere is really making me mad. I've told this to my bishop and freinds over and over again, but they dont seem offer any help with those same awnsers. I tried reading the scriptures, but that only made me feel more synthetic. Is there something wrong with me? What am I supposed to do? What is it?

I would suggest praying. keep in mind that the music we listen to can really influence us, i know the subjects that many death metal and black metal bands "sing" about would not invite the spirit, they would have the opposite effect. one would have a hard time feeling the spirit if we were listening to unholy music all the time.

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I would also encourage you studying Elder Christofferson's talk from this past weekend's General Conference.

Are you wanting to live in Zion and have a summer cottage in Babylon? Most of us do. Whether it is heavy metal, material possessions, or our favorite tv program, chances are they probably steer us away from God.

We need to remember the concept of "good, better, best." In a spiritual context, where are the things you are currently doing fitting? Are they good, when we should be willing to give them up for better or best things? What kind of music will bring us spirituality and bring us into the presence of God?

Are the video games you play the kind God would approve? And if so, are you playing them so much that they prevent you from doing the best things? Do you play rather than ponder?

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I think a lot of the youth (note: NOT all or the "majority) can be total pricks, it's true.

But ask yourself this: Does it really affect whether or not Joseph Smith had the first vision?

The answer is of course no.

You'll find idiots in the church, but you'll find idiots outside of the church, too. Dude, you'll find idiots ANYWHERE! That doesn't mean every single institution or geographical area on the entire earth is false and full of crap, it just means that idiots abound on this planet.

Edited by Italics

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I would also encourage you studying Elder Christofferson's talk from this past weekend's General Conference.

Are you wanting to live in Zion and have a summer cottage in Babylon? Most of us do. Whether it is heavy metal, material possessions, or our favorite tv program, chances are they probably steer us away from God.

We need to remember the concept of "good, better, best." In a spiritual context, where are the things you are currently doing fitting? Are they good, when we should be willing to give them up for better or best things? What kind of music will bring us spirituality and bring us into the presence of God?

Are the video games you play the kind God would approve? And if so, are you playing them so much that they prevent you from doing the best things? Do you play rather than ponder?

Dude, this is the LAST thing that I would've posted.

I appreciate your attempt to help here, but you do realize that it's attitudes like this that scare people like MetalHead away, right?

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I would suggest praying. keep in mind that the music we listen to can really influence us, i know the subjects that many death metal and black metal bands "sing" about would not invite the spirit, they would have the opposite effect. one would have a hard time feeling the spirit if we were listening to unholy music all the time.

This from a punk rocker? Your knowledge of metal music astounds me.

I guarantee you can extract more morals out of metal lyrics than punk rock lyrics... but this is a whole different discussion.

Btw, I listen to lots of metal music, and feel the spirit quite often.

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No!! Not metal vs. punk wars part XXXIV !!!!!

hehe

MetalHead, you have the misfortune :P to have been born at a time when more than a few of us 'old people' know exactly what you're talking about when it comes to music. Anthrax, Black Flag, and Dead Kennedys were/are contemporaries of mine. I loved them and dressed the part, and believe me that got me more than a few looks at church and high school.

The important thing is to have a strong foundation. How can you stand against the world if you are too busy being mad at little things? Why do you feel that people who don't think like you are synthetic? Do you really want people to think like you? I sure didn't :D

How do you get this foundation? By amazingly simple things like reading the BoM, fasting and prayer, and listening to the prophet. It was not uncommon for me to be listening to my music while reading about Helaman and the Two Thousand Warriors, Abinadi and King Noah, or the nature of the universe in the Book of Abraham.

Try to not read too much into the actions of others. Everyone your age is trying to find their own way, just like you are. Believe it or not in 5 years you're going to be asking yourself what all the fuss was about :cool:

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No!! Not metal vs. punk wars part XXXIV !!!!!

hehe

MetalHead, you have the misfortune :P to have been born at a time when more than a few of us 'old people' know exactly what you're talking about when it comes to music. Anthrax, Black Flag, and Dead Kennedys were/are contemporaries of mine. I loved them and dressed the part, and believe me that got me more than a few looks at church and high school.

The important thing is to have a strong foundation. How can you stand against the world if you are too busy being mad at little things? Why do you feel that people who don't think like you are synthetic? Do you really want people to think like you? I sure didn't :D

How do you get this foundation? By amazingly simple things like reading the BoM, fasting and prayer, and listening to the prophet. It was not uncommon for me to be listening to my music while reading about Helaman and the Two Thousand Warriors, Abinadi and King Noah, or the nature of the universe in the Book of Abraham.

Try to not read too much into the actions of others. Everyone your age is trying to find their own way, just like you are. Believe it or not in 5 years you're going to be asking yourself what all the fuss was about :cool:

Wow!!!!

An intelligent post on lds forums!

I'm shocked!

Usually all you get is self-righteous crap from people who think they are walking mormon doctrine...

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Black Metaller here. I play in a black metal band called Slaughtersun and have been interested in extreme music for a long time. When I first got into it, I was surprised how beautiful the music was. Some people around me characterized it as evil, but I discovered many bands that talked more about nature, mental struggle, and mythology instead of glorifying pure perversion. Even some of the "Satanic" bands use Satan as a metaphor for mental struggle, or to be able to face their adversary head-on in musical form. In my personal opinion it is better to acknowledge the existence of evil than ignore it, and that's exactly what the music is doing. It's catharsis; an aural "Get thee hence, Satan!" if you will. 

In Kreator's song "Satan is Real," are the lines "Satan is Real, can you resist the temptation?" Is this not something we already ask ourselves often? In Obituary's "Cause of Death" the band talks about overcoming pain and hell, which is part of our purpose as well. Bands like Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer call out injustice in the world and present a call to action. For all their reputation, most black metal bands talk about the forest and being lonely a lot more than they talk about Satan. Enslaved, Ulver, Immortal, and Drudkh, for instance.

 As an LDS person, you are responsible for showing people through your actions that you are a follower of God. You cannot control what people, inside or outside of the church, think of you for dressing like a metalhead. I personally avoid deliberately anti-religious and vulgar band shirts, but I've got to admit, skulls and bullet belts look pretty cool and I've got no problem wearing those. And as far as my band goes? Yes, we dress from head to toe in black. Yes, there are hooded capes, and spikes, and corpse paint. The point of it all is that we explore some of the deepest, darkest struggles of mankind. We tackle these issues head-on, and that is why the music is intense. In the end, it isn't a tragedy, it's no different from playing the villain in a musical. My band sings about our inner demons with the full knowledge that we will eventually win against them. We use the music as our tool to confront those demons, and to call evil by its name. If anything, I would say that's noble rather than debaucherous, and the people from my ward who attend our shows would agree. 

If you're a metalhead out there worried about not being accepted by the LDS community because no one is like you, I'd like to paraphrase something one of my counselors said to me a few months ago. "The church needs people like you. We're not all meant to be the same." There are many Christians who are into metal and accept it for the art it is. There's nothing wrong with you if you've found peace and joy in intense music. 

 

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On September 24, 2008 at 10:06 PM, MetalHead said:

I have a huge problem concerning my faith and testimony here...

First off, I am a youth member at Seattle First Ward, 17 years old, and like the only young man there. All the other youth go to 3rd Ward, but that is a 25 minute drive away from my house, and First Ward is only like 5 min from my house. Anyhow, I am having a huge problem with my testimony here. Everyone at 3rd ward acts and seems completely spotless (except for like 2 kids). But as for me, well...

To understand here, I love death metal, but I dont dress like it (seriously), I like video games (like every teenage guy), and I hang out with kids whom dont seem to 'fit' in any school categorey.

But the problem is that, every time I go to seminary, church, youth group, the combination of 'perfect' kids, beating-you-into-submission kind of lessons, synthetic atmosphere, really makes me feel like a pile of crap, and gets me thinking to myself, "is this how life is supposed to be?". It really frusterates me, and what makes it even worse is that I like a girl there, but she is really 'pure' but nice at the same time, which really makes me frusterated even more! I try not to concern about these things, but this crawls up my butt every time I try to forget about it. I really hate family home evenings (which we rarely do), my dad is not part of the church and has divorced my mom a while back. It's just this hokyness of a atmosphere is really making me mad. I've told this to my bishop and freinds over and over again, but they dont seem offer any help with those same awnsers. I tried reading the scriptures, but that only made me feel more synthetic. Is there something wrong with me? What am I supposed to do? What is it?

No, there's nothing wrong with you. I'm going to tell you what I told my Young Women (mostly Laurels) last week in our lesson on honesty.

Quote

You are at that time in your life when you are figuring out who you really are. What you like and what you don't like, especially in terms of relationships and careers. You have to be honest with yourself about your weaknesses and your strengths, your likes and your dislikes. Our Heavenly Father knows us better than anyone else does. He knows what will make us happy, and loves to see us find those things on our own.

Your struggle seems to be with what you perceive as insincerity in the words/actions of others. It's tough to be surrounded by people you feel are always pretending. That doesn't go away as an adult. I've felt it when Relief Society Presidents and Visiting Teachers respond to my literal cries for help with empty promises. I'm very grateful for a Savior who responds differently.

My parents divorced when I was almost 12. When I was about 14, he moved to the next town over and started going back to church. In my  mom's branch, the youth were always welcoming to my sister and I and gave us a lot of love, but the adults didn't seem quite to know what to do with us. Conversely, in my dad's ward, the adults were welcoming and showed us a lot of love, but the youth could barely be bothered to learn our names. For a while, I felt like I didn't have that ward or branch family everyone talks about. Then, one year at Girls Camp, they changed things up and you would eat meals with your units instead of your years. As I compared menus to figure out my meal plans for the week, it occurred to me that I actually had a ward family AND a branch family! Neither one were perfect, neon one had changed, but my perspective had. 

Eventually, you will find a place where you feel you belong. Whether it happens because you adjust your perspective or change your address, you'll feel it. And it will be easier to believe in the truths of the scriptures because you will trust the people teaching you about them. In the mean time, keep the regular habits of daily prayer/scripture study, weekly church meetings and activities. As hard as it may be to keep at it, it's even harder to start up again once you've stopped.

 

EDIT: did not realize how old this was when I replied (and did so before reading the other replies because I didn't want my thoughts to be tainted by someone else's). Sorry @MetalHead for that. I'm glad things seem to be going well for you and appreciate your counselor's words. It really does take all kinds of kinds.

Edited by seashmore

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