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The Folk Prophet

Spiritual Bypassing

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A close relative of mine has been touting this article as wonderful and helpful and all that. I feel differently. I don't feel like expressing said differences directly to said close relative is a good idea. So I thought I'd post it here and see what you all think. Am I injecting some kind of bias, or is this article seriously flawed?

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-spiritual-bypassing-5081640

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Yeah, I agree, it's baloney. The idea of "spiritual bypassing" as described in the opening sentences is probably correct. As human beings, we wrongly use all sorts of explanations and thinking, including the idea of spirituality, to explain away or hide from harsh realities. But the specifics of this idea as developed in the article are pure nonsense. Someone took a simple truth and grafted onto it all their doubts and insecurities, and the result is this "spiritual bypassing".

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To me it is a bunch of hogwash, poppycock, balderdash, malarkey...take your pick. I could say the exact same things in this article apply to philosophy, which is nothing more than man's way of avoiding the real trials and questions in life. The only "proof" or reason to believe in the author's view is her word only. She has no foundation...no ground to stand on, and her argument is, truly, very weak. At it's most basic and simple level, believing in God makes much more sense than mankind's way of trying to explain everything. Unfortunately, spirituality will continue to be mocked and attacked in greater amounts in the future. That isn't to say that God has a hand in all things...because I don't believe He does. I do believe in real coincidences, and sometimes things just happen to us for better or worse. That's part of life on this earth...and we all accepted those potential risks before we came here. Being a fanatic and thinking that every single thing that happens everywhere is all the will of God is actually contrary to His plan, and can ultimately lead people away from Him.

Now, the author can say faith is just a shield if they wish, and perhaps there are some who use it that way; who say that faith "helps them" while deep down they are truly struggling with their belief in God. For myself, I know what I have felt in my life, and I am not confusing true spiritual promptings for mere emotionalism. The Holy Ghost has spoken to me, and I know it was not my own thoughts. I have also had many experiences in my life that prove to me that there is a God - far too many little details all fell into place (some years in advance) for said experiences to just be a coincidence.

I love Alma 30:40-41. The more I think about this the more I believe it to be true. Too many things on earth denote that there is a God...it cannot all be explained by chance or the opinion of one who has an axe to grind against religion.

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25 minutes ago, Vort said:

Yeah, I agree, it's baloney. The idea of "spiritual bypassing" as described in the opening sentences is probably correct. As human beings, we wrongly use all sorts of explanations and thinking, including the idea of spirituality, to explain away or hide from harsh realities. But the specifics of this idea as developed in the article are pure nonsense. Someone took a simple truth and grafted onto it all their doubts and insecurities, and the result is this "spiritual bypassing".

The article is not written from and LDS perspective. And I do think that there is legitimacy to some of the ideas when it comes to the hippy-voodoo "spirituality" that may be common to a lot of people's ideas of "spirituality".

Where I have the problem is when you take the world's ideas and try and apply them to the God's religion, and true spirituality. If someone was sharing this article to explain how their Buddhism and yoga were false fronts that were being used to hide from actually facing their problems...sure...I'm on board. When you start trying to apply the same to an actual relationship with the actual God and the actual true processes He has prescribed for us to use, etc., etc... it starts smacking of relying on the arm of flesh pretty quickly.

In essence, a lot of the article (if applied by a Latter-day Saint to the Church of Jesus Christ), seems to argue that the Savior's teachings were wrong, the prophets spout useless and  harmful platitudes, and we should not take scriptural council as valid or legitimate because... you know...psychology.

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1 hour ago, The Folk Prophet said:

A close relative of mine has been touting this article as wonderful and helpful and all that. I feel differently. I don't feel like expressing said differences directly to said close relative is a good idea. So I thought I'd post it here and see what you all think. Am I injecting some kind of bias, or is this article seriously flawed?

https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-spiritual-bypassing-5081640

It’s way over generaling.  Are there some people whom like to avoid thinking: yes, the exist in all camps. It’s not remotely a spiritual only thing. 

 

Now is is there any pint in responding: zero. 

Edited by Jane_Doe

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25 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

The article is not written from and LDS perspective. And I do think that there is legitimacy to some of the ideas when it comes to the hippy-voodoo "spirituality" that may be common to a lot of people's ideas of "spirituality".

Where I have the problem is when you take the world's ideas and try and apply them to the God's religion, and true spirituality. If someone was sharing this article to explain how their Buddhism and yoga were false fronts that were being used to hide from actually facing their problems...sure...I'm on board. When you start trying to apply the same to an actual relationship with the actual God and the actual true processes He has prescribed for us to use, etc., etc... it starts smacking of relying on the arm of flesh pretty quickly.

In essence, a lot of the article (if applied by a Latter-day Saint to the Church of Jesus Christ), seems to argue that the Savior's teachings were wrong, the prophets spout useless and  harmful platitudes, and we should not take scriptural council as valid or legitimate because... you know...psychology.

I'd place this under the category of:

Quote

A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the lies you can invent.

William Blake (1757 – 1827)

The overarching theory is perfectly valid.  I've seen it happen in my life and the lives of others.  But the overall tone of the article is that there is no "Genuine Spiritual Remedy" to difficulties.  It is all one sided.

Does it ever say that?  Not specifically.  But it makes no allowances for it either.  The most it offers is that "sometimes it may be a good thing."  No, it's never a good thing.  But a Genuine Spiritual Remedy to emotional and psychological issues IS a good thing.

It is the complete dismissal of this alternative that makes it a twisted truth.

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11 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

It’s way over generaling.  Are there some people whom like to avoid thinking: yes, the exist in all camps. It’s not remotely a spiritual only thing. 

Similar to my thoughts. The idea of avoiding things by sticking your head in the "positive" sand isn't a "spiritual" thing. One might as well say, "if you see someone smiling they may be putting on a façade and secretly miserable inside." Yes...this is definitely a potential. But when you turn that into, "smiling might be a evidence of 'happy bypassing'", then one is just being silly.

Responding that way to things is a result of psychological and emotional immaturity. That is the cause and the problem that should be addressed. The blaming of the "spirituality" boogeyman is turning things upside down. (Now, to be fair, I don't think the article was that unfair or uneven. I'm just sharing some thoughts.)

12 minutes ago, Jane_Doe said:

Now is is there any pint in responding: zero. 

I think I agree. But I am concerned that the article sets it up so any time anyone suggests to another, for example, that they be positive in the face of difficulties, that such a suggestion must be engaging in something harmful. Moreover, the close relative is sharing the article, proselytizing it to others, to perhaps lead them into the same sort of "positive is negative" type think. Even more harmful...when said relative first shared the article with me they stated, "I have been long trying to study and compile and write about how codependency is taught culturally in our wards and stakes...." followed by having found the article that validates this. Of course, it's what's being taught at church that's the problem here, right? <_<

Essentially what I read into this (and I might be biased...but...) is that said relative is trying to convince others that if anyone suggests at church that we, as Jesus taught, turn the other cheek it's encouraging codependency.

Yes...you are right...responding with that type of argument is unlikely to do anything but cause hurt feelings all around. But it sure bothers me. (In point of fact, the return to the forum for the day for me was to give me an outlet to express my frustration so I can get it out of my system without causing real harm with close loved ones.)

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7 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

 But a Genuine Spiritual Remedy to emotional and psychological issues IS a good thing.

I'd go so far as to say that there is no remedy to emotional and psychological issues that isn't spiritual.

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40 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

The article is not written from and LDS perspective.

Possibly...however, after a bit of digging I found that the author is from Idaho. She may not be (or ever has been) a member of the church, but she definitely knows about us. Not that I'm saying this article is picking us out in particular, but I think it is safe to say she is at least somewhat familiar with LDS teachings...there is no way you can live in Idaho without being exposed to the faith in some fashion.

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2 minutes ago, scottyg said:

Possibly...however, after a bit of digging I found that the author is from Idaho. She may not be (or ever has been) a member of the church, but she definitely knows about us. Not that I'm saying this article is picking us out in particular, but I think it is safe to say she is at least somewhat familiar with LDS teachings...there is no way you can live in Idaho without being exposed to the faith in some fashion.

Good catch. I think I had misread the part about being a "a therapist and Buddhist teacher", where she was referring to someone else and not herself.

Maybe she is LDS. In which case my thumbs down increases by 20 thumbs.

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27 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I'd go so far as to say that there is no remedy to emotional and psychological issues that isn't spiritual.

I'd add a bit to that:

...Issues that aren't at least partially spiritual.

I notice that the new youth program for the Church outlines four areas of goals.

  • Physical
  • Intellectual
  • Spiritual
  • Social

I found it odd that "mental health" and "emotional health" were not among the categories.  But as I thought about it, usually those two categories are taken care of through some combination of the other four -- of which spiritual is only one. An important one, certainly.  But still one.

Edited by Carborendum

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11 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

...Issues that aren't at least partially spiritual.

I'll grant it's semantics. But...we are, at our cores, spiritual beings. If, as the article implies of "spiritual bypassing", we want to speak of burying our heads in the sand, I think an approach that pretends there is a separation between the spiritual and who we are is king of said head-in-sand burying.

The eternal perspective is the only legitimate perspective because it is the only one that recognized truth as it really is.

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I read Moroni 7 last night with my wife, and in verse 17 we read "...whatsoever thing persuadeth men to...believe not in Christ, and...serve not God, then ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of the devil"  I'm not saying this woman is of the devil per se, but a message that gives no room for the Lord or even spirituality in general most definitely is.

Elder Uchtdorf has said "...we can live with an understanding of our divine inheritance as children of God and with an awareness of our potential as eternal beings."  I too like the "head in the sand" phrase. The day will come when we need to give an accounting of our life, and burying our heads (or our talents) in the ground will not prevent the Lord from seeing us and one day asking us what we did with our time here.

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I like the last section, Tips and Tricks.  It's true that emotions aren't good or bad, that negative thoughts and feelings (can) serve a purpose, and uncomfortable feelings are often a sign that there's something wrong and something needs to change.  The end also admits that spirituality can be a positive force and has physical and mental health benefits.  What I got out of the article (not necessarily what it was trying to say) is that I can do better at looking deeper, not just using 'it happened for a reason' as a band aid to try to help me or someone else feel better.

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Good to hear from @The Folk Prophet.  Thanks for this thread.

It is my personal opinion that regardless of how useful and good something is - someone will fine a way to apply it badly.  Likewise regardless of how bad something is - someone will find something useful for it.  My dad use to say, "No one is useless - they can always be used as a bad example.

A couple of thought from me:

As we search for truth we should be open to new ideas and expanding our understand.  We shouldn't be limiting our options.  I think this is one of the good points of the article.

I am not sure where the line is between "hiding behind religion" and exercising faith.  I can tell the differences at the far ends of such a spectrum.  I do understand that people will "hide" behind religious notions thinking it is an exercise of faith.  It is most obvious when talking to those of a different religious nature.  Though I try to avoid such myself - I have been caught red handed and it is most difficult to admit such and come clean.

Emotions are an enigma to me.  Whenever I hear someone say that they will follow their heart - I am sure a train wreak is likely to happen.  My personal experiences are that emotions left to their own devices never turn out well - especially if logic is ignored or diminished.  I believe this applies to religion as well.  Upholding religion based on emotion seldom is a good idea.  If religion cannot be squared with logic - it is likely not really a problem of faith but more likely to be a problem of misunderstanding and misdirection.  Dealing with emotions outside of logic is not dealing with emotions.  This is my #1 problem with physiology - dealing with emotions without logic or thinking it is logical us be emotional void of logic. 

The Traveler 

 

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23 hours ago, Traveler said:

I am not sure where the line is between "hiding behind religion" and exercising faith.  I can tell the differences at the far ends of such a spectrum.  I do understand that people will "hide" behind religious notions thinking it is an exercise of faith.  It is most obvious when talking to those of a different religious nature.  Though I try to avoid such myself - I have been caught red handed and it is most difficult to admit such and come clean.

I think for me, I would, by a thousand fold, rather hide behind religion in an effort to exercise faith than I would abandon faith in an effort to not hide behind religion. Really, my consternation over the article, can probably be summarized that simply.

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7 minutes ago, The Folk Prophet said:

I think for me, I would, by a thousand fold, rather hide behind religion in an effort to exercise faith than I would abandon faith in an effort to not hide behind religion. Really, my consternation over the article, can probably be summarized that simply.

It is really good to see you back in for forum.

This post may be longer that it should - for that please for give me.  When I was in high school we had a ping pong table in our basement activity room.  It was part of the competitiveness among friends and family.  I developed a killer serve that no one could handle.  I was guaranteed a point every time I used it.  I began to rely exclusively on this serve - the more I used it the better I got at it.  But I was not aware of something else that was happening.  Those that I was playing against were getting better at returning the serve.  Eventually, I went from winning every game to loosing every game.  I was much surprised at how quickly that transition happened. 

So why this little story?  I believe it is just one of lives great lessons.   It does not matter how effective we are at a single task - we cannot rely on our own devises.  Our opposition is better at whatever "game" or "strategy" we may think to employ of our own intelligence and abilities.   

I am not an expert at reading people but my impression of you is that you are very good a discipline and commitment.  I like to think of myself in such terms - I believe such to be of great honor.  Where I have difficulty is caring about others (with some few exceptions).  I struggle with emotional attachments - especially to things but it also includes people and ideas.  When I say emotional attachments I am referencing emotions mostly without logic.  I struggle even with spiritual things that I cannot connect to logically.

Why this post to you?  I am not sure but what comes to mind is Moroni chapter 10.  Moving beyond verses 4 and 5 we get into an interesting and strong reference to spiritual gifts.  It is my understanding that every person in this mortal existence has a quiver of spiritual gifts.  I believe it is that person's genus - the spiritual gifts with which they excel to greatness.  But it seems that Moroni is suggesting (exhorting - which is a very strong word that he uses many times) to rely on the spiritual gifts of others - and not just our own.

The trick - at least for me - is recognizing the spiritual gifts - both within ourselves and others - especially under conditions that we become completive or in opposition.  At least for me it is more exciting and fun to explore differences but the reality is that there is wisdom in finding supplementary and complimentary ways to work with others of differing views and opinions.  Obviously I lack certain spiritual gifts and the more we (as Latter-day Saints) can see beyond ourselves the better off we will all be.  Especially in dealing with our common opposition and accuser.

 

The Traveler

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21 minutes ago, Traveler said:

my impression of you is that you are very good a discipline and commitment. 

Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

Um....no.

Am I disciplined? In many ways, yes. But am I good at it? No. It's a constant fight. My natural state is, decidedly, undisciplined.

Am I committed? Depends on what to. The gospel? Yes. Other stuff...well, I could give you a list of the projects started and abandoned through the years.

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The article is much longer than I have time to really engage with at present.  My two immediate reactions are:

1). Brigham Young is reported to have said that the devil will tell nineteen truths if by so doing he can get men to believe one lie; and

2). One of the major but, so far, mostly unacknowledged threats to religious liberty; is the growing trend of “pathologizing” core elements of Christianity in general and Mormonism in particular.  The notion that, not only are our doctrines and practices wrong; but that they are psychologically harmful and therefore (by inference) can and should be prohibited even in an otherwise “tolerant” and pluralistic society.  It is not only appropriate, but necessary that articles like this should be highlighted and picked apart and debunked.  

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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11 hours ago, Just_A_Guy said:

One of the major but, so far, mostly unacknowledged threats to religious liberty; is the growing trend of “pathologizing” core elements of Christianity in general and Mormonism in particular.  The notion that, not only are our doctrines and practices wrong; but that they are psychologically harmful and therefore (by inference) can and should be prohibited even in an otherwise “tolerant” and pluralistic society.  It is not only appropriate, but necessary that articles like this should be highlighted and picked apart and debunked.  

I wish I could find the video again.  But there was a person who was defining what the practice of modern psychology was.  It is essentially "secular moral theory."  Unfortunately, the person defining it was of the mindset that it was a good thing.

Religion defines right/wrong one way.  Law defines it another way.  Psychology defines it still another way.

The terrifying thing is that if we buy into this theory, then what do we get when we realize that judges and police and DCFS, etc. all depend on this method of defining right/wrong?  It appears rather clear that it is the union of Church and State.  It is when this "science of right and wrong" are backed by the enforcement arm of the law that this union occurs.

That is terrifying.

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16 minutes ago, Carborendum said:

I wish I could find the video again.  But there was a person who was defining what the practice of modern psychology was.  It is essentially "secular moral theory."  Unfortunately, the person defining it was of the mindset that it was a good thing.

Religion defines right/wrong one way.  Law defines it another way.  Psychology defines it still another way.

The terrifying thing is that if we buy into this theory, then what do we get when we realize that judges and police and DCFS, etc. all depend on this method of defining right/wrong?  It appears rather clear that it is the union of Church and State.  It is when this "science of right and wrong" are backed by the enforcement arm of the law that this union occurs.

That is terrifying.

The silver lining in this is that those of us who work with mental health professionals firsthand, are acutely aware of how often they fail; and I think a lot of us nurse serious doubts about the degree to which they know what they are doing at all.  Many of them mean well.  They can be helpful.  They are not gods, by any stretch of the imagination.

But, yes.  Pay very, very close attention to your AG, DA, and (if applicable) judge elections. 

Edited by Just_A_Guy

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