Thoughts on The Mormon Faith Crisis by Blogger Jenny Hatch

imageKimberly, one of my favorite writers at Feminist Mormon Housewives, waxed truly eloquent recently on the topic of the Mormon Faith Crisis, which was the focus of a New York Times religion piece last week.

Although I am the queen of Anti Feminism, I appreciate the thoughtful ideas that are so often shared at FMH.

Kimberly really nailed the topic with her post, located HERE.

Quote from her post:

“Shh. Mormons are not supposed to have faith transitions or a full blown faith crisis. Or, if we do, we should keep it to ourselves, suffer in silence, pretty much isolate ourselves so we don’t contaminate the other members who are doing this the right way.”

I was one of the first commenters:

Jenny Hatch says:
July 21, 2013 at 8:45 am

As I read this excellent post, I thought of a dear friend who is a convert to the church.

She was baptized and active for about a year, then when the pressure from fundamentalist christian friends to leave the church combined with the overwhelming realities of the many, many demands and changes in lifestyle that were being required as a new member overwhelmed her heart, she left our ward in sheer panic and told the leadership that if anyone in the form of missionaries, visiting or home teachers….anyone came to her home she was going to call the police.

She and I had become friends and were close neighbors during the ten years that she was hostile and in exile from the circle of saints. We spent time in each others homes and would bump into each other at the grocery store.

I was always teaching classes on essential oils, nutrition, and baking in my home and would invite her to these events.

She credits me with teaching her how to make bread and get into whole foods cooking and I credit her with the open heartedness to give the saints a second chance.

When she moved across town to another ward she felt better about giving the church a second chance, getting active, and trying once again to “be a mormon”.

Once in a while she would call me in a panic, not understanding certain terminology, expectations, or assumptions.

As an example, she did not want her home teacher to visit because her home business of caring for the disabled meant that she had a group of people living with her who had various physical and mental challenges. Sometimes these people were upset when strangers would show up and it would take her hours to calm them down.

She wanted to know if she would be disfellowshipped if she refused to let them in. I told her to call the bishop and tell her home teacher to “bug off”. I told her that in no way was she a bad mormon or her membership in question if she was not comfortable with any part or portion of our lifestyle and infrastructure, especially if it affected her in such an uncomfortable way.

She told me later that this conversation was the one that helped her relax and feel like she could “be an active mormon”. She had wanted to participate her whole life but truly believed she had to be perfect in order to get baptized. Then when she felt like she was “good enough” to be baptized she was so overwhelmed by how much MORE was expected of her that she was spooked and ran away for ten years.

She was also homeschooling when she was first baptized in our ward and heard some of the sisters at Relief Society gossping about a homeschooling family in our midst in a very insulting way. She wondered if her choice to homeschool would also qualify her for extreme judgement and derision.

I personally applaud anyone who is having a faith crisis, because it indeed is an opportunity to grow, deepen our faith, and move a step or even a jump closer to our Heavenly Father.

Sometimes a step back can help us refocus our view, ask really great questions, and then take yet another leap of faith.

Jenny Hatch

Someone responded to my post thusly:

Sharon says:
July 25, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Seriously. This sister could have been “home taught” at another location and received the blessing and support of that association. Telling him to “bug off” was not, in my opinion, the best counsel. It sounds more like YOUR issue with home teachers than hers. Had she even explained the situation to her home teachers and given them the chance to offer other options for visiting with her? Did she tell the Visiting Teachers to “bug off” as well?

And in reply I said:

Jenny Hatch says:
July 25, 2013 at 12:50 pm

Yes, she did not want anyone from the church disturbing her unique living situation with unplanned visits. When she called me that time, several members of the ward had shown up without calling ahead and she was getting frantic.

I don’t have any issues with home and visiting teaching and applaud my friend in her evolution from wanting to call the police and get restraining orders to the level of telling them to “bug off”.

It was her own sense of boundaries being violated by pushy members that made her want to bolt from the church in the first place.

Learning that she had some autonomy over how much she engaged with her ward family gave her the courage to be in the circle, albeit in a different way than you might think appropriate.

My guess is, over time, she will “get a testimony” of visiting and home teaching and fully enjoy all of the many blessings tied to those programs.

I just did not want her to believe that she was a “bad mormon” for not wanting to participate when taking her first baby steps back into activity.

Jenny

I really enjoyed the New York Times article hosted HERE.

And the Radio Show with the author of that piece as well as Kimberly and a few others hosted HERE.

Faith Crises over the ages have ushered into the world the finest Religions, Books, Plays, Music, Philosophy and we should never be afraid when an individual experiences the soul shatering fissure that precedes a quantum maturing leap to another spiritual plateau.

My own Faith Crises have brought about some of the most compelling and sacred interactions with My Heavenly Father, who is always willing and waiting to meet us in the valley of the shadow of doubt.

Jenny Hatch

The Paul and Jenny Hatch Family at the Nauvoo Temple 2003

The Paul and Jenny Hatch Family at the Nauvoo Temple 2003

Apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, Jeffrey R Hollands most compelling sermon on The Faith Crisis:

Healthy Families Make A Healthy World!

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