That was the response I received after I gave Beth the essay regarding polygamy in nauvoo. She didn't freeze up and spit it out at me, but she bore her testimony all the same. The one that I have seen mimicked on this board so many times, she sent back to me with exact precision.
I know polygamy bothers her. she had no idea JS had so many wives, that the article existed, or that he married the wives of other men. These facts make her visibly uncomfortable. But when asked her response was "I know the church is true...etc."
Some clarification. I didn't go in guns blazing with a socratic argument to blow her out of the water. I took the advice of many people from this board, and we had a steady, civil conversation about some questions I had. The way I looked at it was Joseph Smith had committed some serious crimes, and I was standing in an active crime scene. If I touched on anything with ideas of JS with anything other than church approved sources she might think it had been contaminated by an anti agenda, and throw it out. So I instead presented the facts. Those were disturbing enough. Joseph Smith did more testify against himself than I ever could.
When she gave me her testimony I will admit to feeling a little disappointed. I had tried so hard to steer things in a way that wouldn't make her feel defensive, and I see testimony bearing as a defensive measure. I don't know I can be wrong about that if someone has a better explanation.
I realized something though: those aren't her words. She may believe them. She may say them often, just like other TBMs, but at the end of the day it's a pre-written script for them detailing a handed down belief system. But there not her words, they were made by someone else. She has no real testimony to stand against the accusations leveled JS, but one made by the church to protect the church. If she didn't have that back up, she would have to find her own testimony to justify Joseph Smith's actions, and I don't think she could do it as an honest person.
I don't know if this makes sense. I've been awake nearly 51 hors, and I just need to get some thoughts out there.
I've done that very thing before. A guy from the elder's quorum came to my door and gave the obligatory invites and them proceeded to give a testimony spiel. I responded with exactly that: "No you don't know that. It's something you believe based on what you try to convince yourself it a God speaking to you." It took him aback.
I have a TBM husband and family members who I've had similar conversations with. They continue to believe because their whole lives revolve around the church. If they dare consider that the church is untrue, they have to be prepared that their lives will most likely change. It's a scary prospect that they're usually not prepared for. It's easier to ignore the uncomfortable and keep believing.
Sorry things didn't work out how you hoped. I know the feeling.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/2016 12:24AM by want2bx.
Giver her time. Then show her the next essay. Let that sink in and so on and so on. But give her time.
One of the pioneers of modern exmormonism, Diane Ormond of "It started with Science" fame, practiced patience with her husband seven years before he came around. Not all can do this due to a plethora of reasons but what I'm saying is anger and lack of patience is a guaranteed show stopper.
Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/11/2016 08:34PM by AmIDarkNow?.
I think, and hope, that the cog-dis is working. You gave her something that is very difficult to factor into her belief system. You did it calmly and rationally. You used a source she cannot dismiss. Faced with these wretchedly painful, undeniable facts, she could not present counter facts or arguments. All she could do, as I see it from this modest information, is revert to a knee-jerk answer: "I know the church is true."
Except now she's not so sure.
Stay the course! And start giving some thought to how you might approach her when her shelf collapses. I reiterate a suggestion from a few threads ago, AoH: offer regular times to share what you spiritually have in common. Buy her the ESV Study Bible. Read from it together. Watch for indications of a crisis of faith (may be happening right now). Invite her to your own church some time so she can see that it's not filled with dangerous sinners and heretics.
I was this way, too. Because as a mormon, you are taught to believe no matter what. If you don't understand something, don't worry, it will be made clear eventually. Line upon line.
If something makes you uncomfortable? God's ways are not your ways. You don't have eternal perspective.
You don't have to like it, you don't have to agree with it. But you follow the current prophet and have faith. You remember the feelings you had that seemed to confirm your beliefs. You remember everything you've been taught. And you hold on to the rules, the prohibitions, the rituals, with everything you've got, because to do anything else, to think anything else, is too hard!
And because you've been taught this way, you go in prayer with your issue, hoping for a positive result of any kind, and do so until your mind manufacturers something for you.
I remember when I was praying about polygamy. I had read the D&C where god says he'll destroy Emma if she doesn't fall in line. I was horrified and saddened, and this was the last thing that held me back from full belief and faith. Until one day I felt like I heard a voice in my head say "Trust me." I felt like that was all I needed, and I didn't need to worry about it any more. And so even though I still didn't like the thought of being assigned to some strange man in the CK, I didn't worry about it, because I felt god asked me to trust him.
Now I don't believe in god, and know that voice in my head was just that, my own voice, my own thoughts, that I manufactured to fit what I was trying to get.
It's very, very hard for some of us to go from belief to non-belief. We'll do just about anything to keep believing and keep feeling that faith and testimony.
Boyd Packer explained how to gain a testimony: "A testimony is gained by the bearing of it." In other words: If you lie about it enough, you will come to believe it is true. Especially if you start when you are three years old at testimony meeting.
Keep repeating till you convince yourself. I have always thought this was very damaging to people. Keep PRETENDING, to yourself and others. Don't be authentic. Don't allow yourself to question. Don't allow yourself the SPACE in your own damn head to sort things out.
That is what Ace is doing. Allowing her some space in her own head to sort things out.
Of course it would be lovely if she had jumped into his arms and thanked him for showing her the truth but we all know how unlikely that is. She has had many years of indoctrination. It takes time. He has planted seeds. Shown her FACTS from a source she CAN'T discount. It takes time for seeds to grow. After she settles a bit he can try another seed. Trying to push someone in this situation just never does work. At this point the best thing he can do is be a good friend.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/12/2016 05:47PM by Susan I/S.
That's as good as "I can't explain why, but I know I'm right."
You've planted seeds. It may take years for them to grow. I learned about some very disturbing things in church history when I was a BYU student. I stuffed them down and literally forgot about them for close to 10 years. But when I started questioning, I remembered, and I knew they weren't anti-mormon lies because I learned them at the "Lord's University".
Some of the replies here are on the aggressive side, very well and good on this forum, but I don't think appropriate for AceOfHeart's purposes. We hunger for that one statement or fact which would make a person sink her face into her palm and decry, "Oh, thank you for showing me how wrong I was, thank you!"
It never happens that way, of course. AceOfHeart is on the right track, using the essays to plant the seeds of CogDis. Somebody suggested an essay at a time--sounds like a good idea to me.
Her retreat into the line, "I know the church is true" suggests to me that her intellectual defenses are (or have?) crumbling (crumbled), and she's dependent upon the subjective ones: her upbringing, habit, loyalty, fear of alienation from her family, fear and uncertainty of constructing a new belief system. THAT's the endgame I think you need to start thinking about, AoH. (And that's why I've suggested shared Bible reading a few times.)
It is very difficult to see someone you care about be immune to facts. I had high hopes you were going to get through to her, Ace of Hearts. It is clear how deeply you care.
Your story here is a textbook example why many of us state the Mormon church is a cult. The church comes before everything. Even before truth. Even before allowing yourself to be with someone you love and care about deeply. The brainwashing is very deep.
I do believe that is why those of us who got out enjoy each other's company so much here and understand those like you, who get it too.
We're dealing with only a sampling of the AoH's fact pattern, BlueOrchard, but I feel a bit more optimistic about "Beth" than you seem to be. She's intelligent. She apparently cares for AoH in a genuine way, and the both of them seem to be able to carefully balance their emotional and intellectual personnae. Based on that, I'm hopeful, and have (above) encouraged him to "stay the course."
Beth has read one essay and found it to be disturbing, especially since it is authorized by the church. She has not defended JS's polygamy, or gone to FAIR. Not has she shut AoH out of her life, insisted that he not discuss these things, or shut down further discussion.
Her one defense is weak, and based on her emotions and instilled loyalties: "I know the church is true." There is a war going on in Beth's head, the facts that are true or the church she wants to be true. Beth cannot hold her ground; she can only retreat into what she loves (the church & family) and finds to be familiar. Time will tell which side works out.
AoH is to be commended for his careful, sensitive, and measured strategy. Another month, another essay? The romantic in me fervently hopes that her loss of devotion to the church is compensated by growing affection for AoH.
It appears that the claim "I know the church is true", is often said by people who, in reality, don't know any such thing. That is, it is a lot easier for such persons to "copy-cat" this claim from others, than it is for them to seek substance and proof regarding this claim. (Ah--there's the rub.)
Mormon doctrinal problems cannot be solved on the basis of faith, as placing one's faith in fiction is uselessly weighed down by provable facts which show otherwise (be these religious, or scientific).
Indeed, placing one's fate on the basis of faulty doctrine and priesthood leadership can (and does) cause serious problems and sadness. For instance, think of all the women who have cried themselves to sleep for want of a man who "holds" the Mormon's version of "the priesthood" (and which actually has nothing to do whatsoever as to whether or not one is "acceptable" to God, and will enter His Celestial kingdom).
That small phrase has been the one thats allowed millions of people to be defrauded for 170 years...then its the one about the church is perfect blah blah...then the ol faith back stop and getting it figgered later cuz gawd is too weird to understand...doubt and question undoubtedly exist if you have to keep gnattering the same ol stuff...if i say it one more time itll start to make sense..now pull your dam finger outta your ear and plug that hole in the boat...from the last time nelson shot himself in the foot...oh sorry that was tommys
When I first joined Mormonism as a pre-teen and learned about polygamy, I asked if women could have more than one husband in the early church. I was shot down immediately and told that it NEVER could happen because God would never allow it because there would be no way of determining the father of the woman's children (pre-DNA testing). So when I learned that J.S. married other men's wives I was blown away. From the journals of these women (wives) it was plain that they had also had sex. That was the beginning of my journey out of Mormonism. Fortunately, I came from a mostly never Mormon family and had a previous association with protestantism. So, questioning and demanding truth was never difficult for me unlike in Mormonism where it is considered not only a failing but a sin.
You might ask Beth if doubting, questioning, searching for truth, is a positive or negative attribute in her own personal philosophy. You may find her answer very revealing.
Beth's strongest ties are to her family and church. They are her major support system. You have breached that fortress and are a support person she is becoming comfortable with but not yet fully trusting of. If she were trusting of her own ability to determine good from evil and fully trusting of you she would not have put her fingers in her ears and said, "La-la-la-la-la" to drown out what you were saying. That's what she was doing when she spouted her indoctrinated, pre-recorded testimony. It was a way of fortifying herself against the uncomfortable new truth you were giving her. Now she has to reason things out for herself or disregard what you have shown her and pass it off as irrelevant. If she deems it irrelevant you must make her explain to you why it would be irrelevant if this new information goes squarely against what she has been taught for so long. You must encourage her to think things through logically. Truth should not be illogical.