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gj9

Church culture and imperfection of man

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I was born and raised in an LDS family. I served a mission. I was married in the temple. I have been active and served in the church my whole life.  I am in my mid 40s. I have 2 teenage sons and 2 young adult sons.  I believe deeply the gospel is true and love the teachings and truth.  I am introverted, struggle with social anxieties, depression and anxiety. I had a poor upbringing that has caused a lot of struggles in my life with my mental health.  I don’t know that any of this background was needed but I have a tendency to want to be understood and listened to and cared about.  And I tend to give more information than needed. I struggle with church culture and not forgetting it’s just culture and not teachings at times.  I struggle with the imperfections of man, that mistakes are made in the church by the people in charge.  I struggle with being judge-mental. I feel guilt easily partially because of my upbringing and partially because of my personality and church culture can push me to feel awful about myself. As well as people in charge putting pressure on me when they don’t know my situation or me well enough.  I know in general they mean well. Logically I can see all of these things and be ok, but emotionally I struggle.  I’m tired of feeling awful about myself.  That I’m not good enough. I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I have met with bishops in my youth and adulthood.  I have repented. I continue to repent.  I do struggle to feel worthy of forgiveness. I struggle to accept that it’s ok that I made/make mistakes. I have sought counseling and utilized modern medicine.  Just looking for thoughts. 

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I'm offering a non-LDS Christian perspective, but I suspect that my thoughts apply well to most church settings. Some realities that may help:

1. Church leaders often recognize that it is the most devout who respond to calls for repentance. Often people deep in sin can be cavalier. So, it may be that your being disappointed with yourself (which does need to be lifted) is rooted primarily in your sincere desire for holiness--living right and pure before your God. The motivation is good, but the result (feeling overwhelmingly guilty) is unbalanced.

2. God don't make no junk! Not sure who first said this, but it is so. Humanity was/is the height of God's creation. Each soul is a treasure. Every head on your head is counted by Heavenly Father.

3. Consider enhancing your worship of God. In your post you focus a lot on you. That could be disheartening for anyone! So...turn a good measure of that focus to the One you serve. Play faith-promoting songs--especially those that directly offer praise of the LORD. Perhaps doing a study of God's characteristics might be useful. Look to Galations 5:22--23. If you like the characteristics listed seek a greater infilling of God's Holy Spirit. More of Him, less of me!

4. Keep doing the self-care you described--even the medicine, if it is indicated. You may believe it is not effective, but you might be that much worse off without it.

These are just my initial thoughts. God's peace, comfort and presence be with you!

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Too much navel-gazing is bad for us. Ironically, Satan sometimes uses our own introspection as a tool to keep our focus on ourselves instead of others.

Accept that you're not yet complete (what linguists and the scriptures call "perfect"). Don't beat yourself up over the fact, just acknowledge it. Acknowledge that you won't become perfect in this lifetime, though that's your goal. Don't justify yourself with the fact, just accept that that's how it is. Then allow your heart to learn that by following Christ and covenanting with him, those imperfections can be made irrelevant and eventually go away. Spend your time thinking about how you can help others—your spouse and children, your family and friends, your neighbors. Set out to do something to help them, whether it's going to work to provide for your family or mowing the neighbor's lawn. Whatever. Focus on them, not on yourself and your perceived imperfections.

My thoughts, for whatever they're worth to you.

Edited by Vort

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1 hour ago, gj9 said:

I was born and raised in an LDS family. I served a mission. I was married in the temple. I have been active and served in the church my whole life.  I am in my mid 40s. I have 2 teenage sons and 2 young adult sons.  I believe deeply the gospel is true and love the teachings and truth.  I am introverted, struggle with social anxieties, depression and anxiety. I had a poor upbringing that has caused a lot of struggles in my life with my mental health.  I don’t know that any of this background was needed but I have a tendency to want to be understood and listened to and cared about.  And I tend to give more information than needed. I struggle with church culture and not forgetting it’s just culture and not teachings at times.  I struggle with the imperfections of man, that mistakes are made in the church by the people in charge.  I struggle with being judge-mental.

I could have written this, except for a few details (like I"m in my 30's).

1 hour ago, gj9 said:

 I feel guilt easily partially because of my upbringing and partially because of my personality and church culture can push me to feel awful about myself. As well as people in charge putting pressure on me when they don’t know my situation or me well enough.  I know in general they mean well. Logically I can see all of these things and be ok, but emotionally I struggle.  I’m tired of feeling awful about myself.  That I’m not good enough. I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I have met with bishops in my youth and adulthood.  I have repented. I continue to repent.  I do struggle to feel worthy of forgiveness. I struggle to accept that it’s ok that I made/make mistakes. I have sought counseling and utilized modern medicine.  Just looking for thoughts. 

I've found the key is realistic expectation, and really thoroughly reminding myself that I'm good enough.   Lots of scriptures on that, and Elder Holland is wonderful.

For example: I'm not a perfect parent.  I could feel bad that my elementary aged daughter hasn't had her hair brushed today, that she's been in those same Stitch pjama's for 3 days now, and we haven't done her assigned "school work" before 1 and her teacher is disappointment in me.  Or I can acknowledge that the world is completely crazy right now, I'm doing my best, my daughter is fed and washing her hands (with soap!) regularly.  And that is good enough.  I can just let the Stitch pjamas go.  

 

Edited by Jane_Doe

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32 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

... and we haven't done her assigned "school work" before 1 and her teacher is disappointment in me. 

As a total side track, but a bit of encouragement, I can all but guarantee you that your child's teacher is far more disappointed with the education bureaucrats that created all the  documentation requirements, allegedly to assure that everyone is fulfilling their duties remotely, than s/he is with any student or parent. :bangcomputer:

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Thank you so much everyone for your thoughtful replies and advice.  I was hoping an outside perspective would see things I wasn't seeing and that is how it went.  I really appreciate your help.  You've given me things to think about and work towards.  

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On ‎4‎/‎15‎/‎2020 at 9:00 AM, gj9 said:

I was born and raised in an LDS family. I served a mission. I was married in the temple. I have been active and served in the church my whole life.  I am in my mid 40s. I have 2 teenage sons and 2 young adult sons.  I believe deeply the gospel is true and love the teachings and truth.  I am introverted, struggle with social anxieties, depression and anxiety. I had a poor upbringing that has caused a lot of struggles in my life with my mental health.  I don’t know that any of this background was needed but I have a tendency to want to be understood and listened to and cared about.  And I tend to give more information than needed. I struggle with church culture and not forgetting it’s just culture and not teachings at times.  I struggle with the imperfections of man, that mistakes are made in the church by the people in charge.  I struggle with being judge-mental. I feel guilt easily partially because of my upbringing and partially because of my personality and church culture can push me to feel awful about myself. As well as people in charge putting pressure on me when they don’t know my situation or me well enough.  I know in general they mean well. Logically I can see all of these things and be ok, but emotionally I struggle.  I’m tired of feeling awful about myself.  That I’m not good enough. I’ve made plenty of mistakes. I have met with bishops in my youth and adulthood.  I have repented. I continue to repent.  I do struggle to feel worthy of forgiveness. I struggle to accept that it’s ok that I made/make mistakes. I have sought counseling and utilized modern medicine.  Just looking for thoughts.  

You seem to be a mirror of myself and Im in my mid 40s too, except I don't have anxiety or depression. Many struggle in the social culture of religions and its not just LDS, its all religions. From the stories I hear about other religions I think LDS culture problems are mild.

You are the captain of your ship, not the bishop, not your dad or sons. I think you have heard the phrase "Many paths to the top of the mountain". Usually we hear it as a reference to the many religions and how they all lead to God. I like to take that same phrase and apply it to the gospel as we know of it in the LDS church. We are all on the same journey but some will go the scenic route, others the steepest straightest route and some take the slow curvy route. Apply this to my life and It means that my route to the top included many of the same things you experienced, like a mission and temple marriage, I had a divorce 3 yrs ago and all the struggles that that brings. I Also struggle with church attendance due to work and social anxiety. However, I still have my eyes on the top of the mountain and that's all that matters. I have learned to not care about where others are in their journey because its none of my business. Others may be higher up on the mountain than you but don't think that they are better or more fit then you, just think of them as great examples of what is possible. My own teenage kids have their own path and I think it involves a lot of stops and an eventual helicopter lift at the end from our savior, lol.

Just work on your own personal relationship with Jesus and God, everything else will fall into place.

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