It's hard to be LDS


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Who said this?  Well...indirectly it was Romney.  During an interview with Christianity Today, the then candidate was asked what he thought of those evangelicals who feared his presidency would make the church seem more acceptable [presumably to mainstream Christians].  His response was that his religion was hard--with its WOW, it's tithing requirement for active members (on the gross, he said), etc.  So, no, there would be no mass conversions.

 

So, how about it?  Is it really hard to be LDS?  If you know it's true--it's the restored gospel, with the authority of Christ, then are the rules really that hard?

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Sometimes. When we're misunderstood. When we're disliked before someone even knows us, which happens even in our Idaho town (there's another dominant denomination where we live. . . a college owned by that church and many of its members employed there. . . and they do not like Mormonism). I don't find living the Gospel hard in and of itself. It's the people who look down on us for it that prick at my heart. Especially my brother and his wife. 

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Loving Heavenly Father makes easy-hard irrelevant. I just do it.

Like a job. When my boss asks me to do something, whether it be hard or easy is recognized but still irrelevant. I was asked to do it, I am going to get it done.

Although, obeying Heavenly Father is many times over more rewarding and edifying than obeying my boss.

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There are difficulties.

 

Living in England, there is very much a pub culture out here. At my last job, when the layoffs came, the bosses drinking buddies were the ones who weren't laid off.

 

In university, it's the same thing. You are walled off - Separated - from things non-LDS people can take for granted.

 

You wake up at 5 AM to take your kids to Seminary, Monday evenings you're at home with FHE. Sundays, you volunteer 3 hours at church and then stay in with your family. That's assuming you don't have meetings or a calling, which almost all members do. Then, there's youth nights, Priesthood outings, Ward Welfare, not to mention home teaching, Temple Nights, Family History.

 

And for all this, you also give up 10% of your income.

 

If we didn't believe it was true, we just wouldn't do it. ;)

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One day for church .....Six days for fun.....odds on going to heaven 6-1

Hmm, think you mean 1 out of 6.

 

When one is raised in the LDS Church, it really isn't that hard. But for adult converts it often is. The LDS faith is not a one hour on Sunday, couple hours for Easter and Christmas faith. It is 24/7 faith. We live, breathe, eat, think, play, pray, do our religion. 

 

Back in 1998, while I was still inactive (30+ years worth of inactivity), my best friend/ Visiting Teacher told me the above; long before Br Romney said it.

 

Too many investigators get baptized without understanding that to be active within the church requires a 100% emotional, physical and mental commitment. 24/7! If you smoked, drank alcohol, and/or did recreational drugs, then you HAVE to quit. To quit means you give up the people and activities associated with it.  Out of the 8 who have been baptized in the last 2 years in my Branch, only one has remained active. 

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If you've given the context right, then his comment is in the context of people converting. Based on my mission experience things like the WOW and Tithing dissuade people who might have otherwise joined. One can of course play the, "If it dissuaded them, they weren't really converted/committed." game but given Romney is talking about people converting because it's now more 'acceptable' we're talking about people who aren't/wouldn't be converted/committed enough to join despite it being less 'acceptable' anyway.

 

 


So, how about it?  Is it really hard to be LDS?  If you know it's true--it's the restored gospel, with the authority of Christ, then are the rules really that hard?

 

 

Even Christ himself would have preferred not to drink the bitter cup placed before him (D&C 19:18; Matthew 22:39; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:42). Who could have a better understanding of truth and commitment to the will of the Father than Christ? Yet it appears even he found at least one thing asked of him by the Father to be hard. He certainly didn't sit there and complain about how hard it was, or do it begrudgingly, but hard it does appear to have been. 

 

I understand the thought process, that upon full conversion and commitment one is cheerfully engaged in all that is asked but being cheerfully engaged, converted, and committed isn't at odds with something being hard. 

Edited by Dravin
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Being LDS is hard, don't let anyone kid you. Growing up in the culture does not make it any easier, sure the WOW and tithing are probably not an issue but were the real problem lies is in participation.

 

The 80/20 rule applies in LDS culture just like everywhere else, with a non-paid Clergy we rely on the free time of otherwise busy people to run the day to day operations of the church. 80% in attendance don't want to participate, or they accept a calling because of cultural influences. Not because they are committed and want to do a good job. Think about all the other churches, you show up someone preaches at you and you get to leave.

 

So yes it's hard 

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As a convert for over a year now, I really do not find the LDS lifestyle that difficult!  As long as one is spiritually in tune with the Lord, it is not difficult to follow His commandments.  But I do agree that being Mormon is a lifestyle not simply a religion.  I fear that many converts do not fully understand this and that might be why its is difficult for converts to maintain their spiritual pathway.

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As a convert for over a year now, I really do not find the LDS lifestyle that difficult!  As long as one is spiritually in tune with the Lord, it is not difficult to follow His commandments.  But I do agree that being Mormon is a lifestyle not simply a religion.  I fear that many converts do not fully understand this and that might be why its is difficult for converts to maintain their spiritual pathway.

I think some people just want a religion not a culture.

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Has any religion been revealed outside of a culture?

I mean was, some people just want to go to church and like go home, not get callings and all the other stuff LDS has that most churches don't have.

 

But there is religion without culture and culture without religion.

Edited by Lakumi
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Too many investigators get baptized without understanding that to be active within the church requires a 100% emotional, physical and mental commitment. 24/7! If you smoked, drank alcohol, and/or did recreational drugs, then you HAVE to quit. To quit means you give up the people and activities associated with it.  Out of the 8 who have been baptized in the last 2 years in my Branch, only one has remained active. 

 

Those that teach investigators, and those who guide new converts, likely hope and pray that they will grow into the responsibilities.  "Milk before meat."  In reality a lot fall out of them.  Could part of the cause be a lack of intentional mentoring for the new converts?

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 But I do agree that being Mormon is a lifestyle not simply a religion.  I fear that many converts do not fully understand this and that might be why its is difficult for converts to maintain their spiritual pathway.

 

Did you understand the commitment before you converted?  Why are so many not understanding what they are signing up for?

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Those that teach investigators, and those who guide new converts, likely hope and pray that they will grow into the responsibilities.  "Milk before meat."  In reality a lot fall out of them.  Could part of the cause be a lack of intentional mentoring for the new converts?

In this case it is the one female member who introduced the missionaries to these people. They are her drug contacts. She sells to them. 

 

I have heard back from them directly that the only reason they tell the missionaries that they want to bet baptized is so that the church will pay their rents, utilities, food, personal hygiene items, and for one guy he was told by the female friend that the church will even pay for his Rx morphine. 

 

I have related this to our Branch President. When he asked the female member about it, she denied it. Claimed I had a hate on for her. Well at the time I didn't. But when she broke into my neighbors house and robbed him - months later a bank in Portland caught her *just like a brother* friend trying to get a cash advance with my neighbor's credit card, and yet another bank has pictures of her trying to cash a check she had forged on my neighbors account.

 

Now I have a hate on for her. The trouble and trauma she has caused this very senior (he is 78 she is 84) couple!!! When the banks and law enforcement showed my neighbor the pictures, he couldn't identify them - later I showed him pictures I had taken of them and he told me that is who the bank got on film. Before he could go to the police, he suffered a stroke. End of that story. He no longer has the where-with-all and his wife has been ill and in hospice since Thanksgiving of last year. 

 

The one person who has remained active, finally saw her for what she really is. Plus she really pushed her luck with him. He caught her in his mother's home, stealing items. He is in his late 40's, his step-dad just died in hospice in Portland and his Mom suffers from diabetes - lost her leg below the knee. Has an extremely difficult time giving herself her injections. 

 

Not only is he remaining active - he turned down a calling because it would take time from caring for his Mom, his mother is getting interested. She walks from her house at the corner, down to the end of the cul-de-sac and back. Often if she sees me in my kitchen or living room window she waves and then beckons me to come out. I gab two plastic folding chairs and we sit and visit. She asks me questions about the church. She wants to hear a members personal thoughts on the doctrines. When I told her that in LDS language that is called a testimony. When she has rested enough, and caught her breath we end our visit.

 

The missionaries go there twice a month for meals - so they teach her the *Official* gospel doctrines. 

 

Also I feel that the missionaries put themselves under a lot of pressure to achieve a lot of baptisms.They aren't happy or satisfied with just planting the seed of the gospel. I was totally floored when I found out that they challenge the investigators to get baptized after the third lesson. 

 

The seven who got baptized, then left also never quit the cigarette smoking, pot smoking, using meth, etc. One is a 25 year old gal who is not only a meth addict, she is a hard core alcoholic. Runs outside to the parking lot, takes a swig or three from the fifth of booze (doesn't even bother to keep it in a bag.) then runs back into the church. She leaves each block at least twice. Sacrament, Gospel Principles and then RS. 

 

Did you understand the commitment before you converted?  Why are so many not understanding what they are signing up for?

They understood the commitment. They had NO intention of following through. They just wanted the rent, utilities, food paid for. Furniture provided, gas put in their vehicles, etc. etc. Then when that wasn't happening - they left. 

Edited by Iggy
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Iggy, I suppose that the LDS reputation for being a tight-knit community--one that takes good care of its members--is both a testimony and a scam-magnet.  While it's good to be wise, God also honors our desire to help/bless others.  Once in awhile even the most street-wise will get conned.  That's better than the alternative--becoming so over-cautious that we fail to help the widow, orphaned, and poor amongst us.

 

Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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Did you understand the commitment before you converted?  Why are so many not understanding what they are signing up for?

PC, yes I did understand because the woman I was dating and married had been LDS for 30+ years, so I had an inside track on the commitment needed.  Also, because of issues I had been going through for the past several years in my personal life, I was actually looking for a lifestyle change and a spiritual journey that incorporated a lifestyle change.

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Those that teach investigators, and those who guide new converts, likely hope and pray that they will grow into the responsibilities.  "Milk before meat."  In reality a lot fall out of them.  Could part of the cause be a lack of intentional mentoring for the new converts?

 

President Hinckley once said that in order for a new convert to prosper, they need a calling, nourishment from the good word of God and a friend.

 

Many don't have that friend and mentor, and many do fall by the wayside because they feel lost. However, I can tell you something: For most people who convert and fall away, it's not that they don't know the commitment.

 

It's that they can't live it.

 

I'm sure you've seen the fire of the newly converted. There is nothing quite so passionate as someone who is new to something. That fire and zeal is admirable and wonderful.

 

And it does not last.

 

When a new convert joins the church, they have a feeling like no other. I didn't stop smiling for days after my baptism. I'm certain you've seen it, too, PC - That surety that you could shout your convictions from the top of the highest mountain. You feel like you could overcome any challenge.

 

But it isn't the challenges that hurt. It's the day to day. One day, you can't hang out with your friends. The next, you find yourself with a bunch of people that you only have one thing in common with. The next, you find out that someone at church isn't perfect - Maybe he insults you, or does something hypocritical. Something happens that challenges your faith in the institution.

 

Then, you have to make a choice: Stay or go. For many, when the fire of the recent conversion wears off, they start to try to hold on to it like a man gripping tighter the fist full of sand he gathered at the beach. They wonder if they're the ones who are lacking. They're told, "Just pray more. Serve your fellow man. That'll fix it."

 

And it doesn't.

 

And they start thinking that maybe they made a wrong decision. After all, they're feeling a little lonely, lost. They don't have those feelings they used to have. What if they're wrong?

 

We all face that in our faith. Even the saviour asked, "Why hast thou forsaken me?"

 

At some point, we face a time alone.

 

I wish there was an easy answer. Maybe the members could be more supportive. Maybe we could make it more obvious that trials will continue after you join the church. They'll probably intensify. Maybe there is a lot we could do, but I don't know what that is.

 

I just wish I could tell the members facing their long, dark night of the soul that it will pass. That it's only temporary. That God loves them and they aren't alone.

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WOW...great thoughts in the last several posts.  And, yes, much of what is being said is true in traditional churches.  New converts--we call them "babes in Christ"--can be confusing.  They are sometimes middle-aged or older, yet new to the faith.  Babies are messy.  They sometimes make stinky.  Those who were practically born in the church/ward nursery don't always know what to make of these new ones.  Some may even be skeptical--because of the very reasons listed previously in this string.  Babies can't survive alone.  They need spiritual caregivers.  The Apostle Paul says that the strong brothers must come along side the weaker ones.  I'm fairly certain that a new convert who is isolated is an inactive-member-in-process.

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Who said this?  Well...indirectly it was Romney.  During an interview with Christianity Today, the then candidate was asked what he thought of those evangelicals who feared his presidency would make the church seem more acceptable [presumably to mainstream Christians].  His response was that his religion was hard--with its WOW, it's tithing requirement for active members (on the gross, he said), etc.  So, no, there would be no mass conversions.

 

So, how about it?  Is it really hard to be LDS?  If you know it's true--it's the restored gospel, with the authority of Christ, then are the rules really that hard?

if you havent made that kind of living into a habit it can be... or perhaps i should say letting go of whatever vice that holds you back is hard.

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...

 

But there is religion without culture ....

 

Is there? Mormonism has been accused of being an "American religion", and I think there's good reason for that. Roman Catholicism smacks of a religion emerging from a Jewish base with heavy Roman influence. Islam is so Arabic that it's easy to forget the country with the most Muslims is in Asia (Indonesia). What does Wicca look like without the Celtic culture?

 

When I read footnotes and commentaries to scriptures (not just our own) I see that the commentator spends most of her time trying to set a cultural context for the message. So what religion has been cleanly separated from culture?

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