Date: December 06, 2018 09:23PM
In light of some of these responses I went back to see what advice newbieguy asked for. He clearly explains it in the following excerpts from his first post.
“So the advice I need is pretty basic. When I meet with the GA and I am assuming the SP will also be present, and assuming the interview lasts no more than an hour, maybe even just 30 minutes, what should I do or say? Obviously, time is limited and even if I had a couple hours, I don’t think it would change a thing, so what would be the best way to sum up my concerns with the church? I don’t want emotions to play a part. I want to be very calm, respectful, and factual. Should I bring up one or two issues or just make a very general statement?
“I understand there are many opinions on this, in the end I will choose the one that fits my experience and personality.
“I will go as it will be a good opportunity for me to make my position clear. I admire that ex bishop from Texas who recently stood up to voice his concerns about bishop youth interviews and was subsequently exed. Likewise, I think it is my duty too to take a stand.
“Unfortunately my life is too intertwined with the church at this point to simply walk away as my wife is still active although not your typical TBM, and most of our friends are LDS. I don't want a total breakaway as there are many good people in our ward and I don't mind associating with some of them. In addition I get a feeling of empowerment when I go to church knowing that I don't have to accept any callings or assignments to clean the temple or make visits. I will continue to be honest and candid in my thinking and comments and who knows maybe snatch a few souls away from the chains of cojcolds. They may be jealous of my freedom from all the rules and want to join me.
“If anyone is interested I will post how it went although we can pretty well predict the outcome. That's the thing about this church, everything is so damn scripted, no room for thought or questioning or honest discussion. That more than anything is what drives me away.
“Personally I feel I have to go through with this meeting and not coward away. I need to let them know how terribly disappointed I am with the way the church and its leadership let me down by hiding all these truths from us for so many years. I need to tell them that my Integrity no longer permits me to continue as I have in the past. I can't pray this away anymore.
Azsteve replied to a post that suggested newbieguy just skip going to the meeting with the GA:
“You are correct but only for someone who has completely healed up from their mormon experience. There can be a great healing power when you face a high-level representative of the organization that brought you harm, and when the meeting is over, you walk away with your own empowerment and integrity in-tact after letting them know that they did you wrong and that you're not buying it anymore. If you do well enough, you might even see a crack in his testimony/lie that he can't hide and you both know that he is wrong, and that he knows that you know he is wrong, just by observing his own doubt in his facial expressions (micro-expressions are a wonderful thing after you get good at reading them. It gets very difficult for others to lie to you without your knowing it). Facing these guys sure beats hiding like a coward. After you've won a few battles like that, boredom may set in and then maybe there is no need to meet with them. At the time I resigned, it felt more like escaping from East Germany than tendering a resignation, although I did meet with my Bishop to resign and to tell him why. After a few decades of healing and learning to feel empowered again, it was too late to easily get an audience with a GA.”
In this current follow up thread (after the meeting with the GA) cl2 says:
“Everyone leaves for their own reasons. Newbie guy has the right to do this his way. There is no right way or wrong way to leave the lds church.”
That makes a lot of sense. Religions like Mormonism emphasize obedience as a high virtue. They expect adherents to believe every doctrine wholeheartedly, to obey the appointed leaders, to squelch doubts and disagreements, to avoid discussing concerns or questions with other members, to limit exposure to outside knowledge and to non-members. For BICs in particular it may be a long journey towards awareness of issues within the faith, taking steps to resolve questions, living with a new reality, coping with how deeply entrenched they are inside the religion and choosing how to exit or whether to stay in, with considerations about their most precious assets (spouse, children, relatives, friends) in the forefront of the difficult choices they must make. Depending on one’s experiences inside the faith and the effect of the newfound information and one’s reactions to such an earthshaking event inside the bubble of their existence the journey is different for each of us. Some can hang on inside until their children are grown or until their spouse wants to leave too. Others eagerly run immediately for the exit.
Because, as we say so often that it should be a subtitle on the RfM board: We are all different. Our upbringing, attitudes, feelings, thoughts, entanglements, closeness or otherwise to family members and spouse, etc. We are not the same. But similar enough that we can understand the process. Some run. Some stay. Some leave alone, others with their families. Some can stick around and ease off slowly, others can’t stand another minute, no matter what the consequences of leaving may be. There is anger, relief, sadness, joy, depending on many factors, including our personality and life situation.
That’s why it’s so helpful for posters to write about their own experiences and certainly advice found here has helped countless others through the years.
But there’s no right way to think or feel and no one way to leave.
The advice newbieguy asked for (seen in his first post, excerpted above) relates to which questions to ask or topics to go over with the GA. He went on to explain why he wanted to attend the meeting. He wasn’t asking whether he should go or not. It’s perfectly fine to ask each other for advice. But it’s for info only, not compulsory, obviously.
It’s easy to overlay on another’s situation our own reactions and feelings but not always that helpful to them.
New posters often express appreciation for the replies they receive. It’s helpful and kind to respond to each other, especially to new posters. But, as cl2 says (much more succinctly than I have managed) it’s up to each individual to make their own best choices but if we can provide them with helpful info that’s a bonus. I’m sure that most posters weigh our words and appreciate the input but in the end the best thing for them is to make their own decisions as they know themselves and their situation best.
It makes perfect sense to me that newbieguy already knew he wanted to see the GA but wished to get some input re which topics to bring up. Again, he wasn’t asking whether he should go to the meeting or not.
He wants to stay a member for now, which is common as we have seen through the years. As I said, some people run out of the building (me included) when that eureka moment comes for them and others are on a slower train. Newbieguy sounds pretty level-headed and it sounds like things will work out for him and his family. It would be great to read updates if available. He sounds content for now and seems to know his path forward.
That is not a bad place to be in life.
Even if it's inside the (former)Mormon Church.
Good luck newbieguy.