OrthodoxChristianity.net
July 29, 2014, 03:07:38 PM *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Reminder: No political discussions in the public fora.  If you do not have access to the private Politics Forum, please send a PM to Fr. George.
 
   Home   Help Calendar Contact Treasury Tags Login Register  
Pages: 1   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Checking In  (Read 1361 times) Average Rating: 0
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.
ATX
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 45



« on: September 28, 2009, 03:22:10 PM »

Hello,

It’s been a few weeks since my last post.  I just wanted to say that I’m still hanging in there, attending Divine Liturgy at the parish closest to my home, and am continuing my inquiry into Orthodoxy.  I hesitate to say that I’m committed to becoming Orthodox, not because that is not my goal – it most definitely is – but because I want to take things nice and slow and at this early stage I am most definitely still just an inquirer.  If it’s God’s will that I become a catechumen at this time, then I pray I am ready to take that step.  I will wait on God and on the guidance of the priest to help me decide when the time is right.  In the meanwhile, I’m continuing to make the effort to attend Divine Liturgy regularly and trying to implement a prayer rule in my life.  There are many challenges, namely my own built-in skepticism about spiritual matters (my lifetime in Mormonism created a simultaneous desperate need to feel God’s presence and an inability to have much faith in any experiences I might have) and the occasional bouts of hopelessness I feel since my wife is still Mormon and insists that I go with her to that church to present a united spiritual front for our young boys.  On days I attend Divine Liturgy, I have a wonderful experience and them come home and feel pressured by my wife to deflect questions from my boys about where I was during the morning hours.  This creates anxiety which is difficult for me to deal with.  I want to be honest and tell my sons where I was, but that strains relations with my wife since she wants us all to attend the Mormon church together – that’s all she knows, that’s all my boys know, and that’s what her entire family knows.   I’m the odd man out.   I do struggle from time to time, and it can be an emotional roller coaster, usually all within the same day.  I attend Divine Liturgy, experience the highs of what I consider to be true worship, and then come home to the disappointments of feeling like I’m alienating myself from my family.  But I have faith that God’s will will eventually be done.   On a positive side, I know my wife would consider Orthodoxy long before she considered Roman Catholicism (my current affiliation).  Catholicism has too much baggage attached for Mormons, who are raised to believe that Catholicism is apostate and forever associated with inquisitions, crusades, wickedness, and corruption.   Orthodoxy lacks these associations, so at least that is not a hurdle that will need to be overcome for my wife.   To Mormons (and most Westerners, I think), Orthodoxy is opaque, a mystery.   Research and common sense tells me that Orthodoxy truly is the tradition that best preserves the original teaching of the apostles; this is why I am attending Divine Liturgy.  I am currently Roman Catholic, but it is obvious that the Vatican has made accommodations with modernity and with Protestantism that have taken it far afield from the authentic Apostolic Tradition, not to mention the original unfortunate innovation of papism, which is contrary to the apostles’ original model of conciliarism.   I am convinced that Orthodoxy really is Christ’s church, which is why despite the challenges I will stay the course.   I ask for your prayers to help me on this difficult journey and that I keep the goal firmly in mind as I experience the emotional ups and downs I’ve described. 

In Christ,
Andrew
Logged
ATX
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 45



« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2009, 03:30:27 PM »

I completely forgot to mention another difficulty I face.  Any advice is welcome.  I am the eldest of six, all of whom have left the Mormon church.  The first of us to leave did so more than 20 years ago, and in spectacular fashion.  My brother dropped out dropped out of high school on the first day of his senior year, moved out, and embedded himself in Salt Lake City’s anarchist/punk rock community.  He wore leather, grew a gigantic mohawk, the whole deal.  Hard drugs were part of the scene and were been part of his life for the next 20 years.  Well, imagine my surprise and joy to learn a few months ago that he had recently been seeking solace and liberation from his addictions by visiting the local Trappist monastery in Huntsville, Utah.  And imagine my shock when he emailed a couple of weeks ago to tell me that he had enrolled in the RCIA program in the cathedral in Salt Lake City and is on track to become a Catholic next Easter!   Needless to say, I about fell out of my chair.  I haven't had a relationship with my brother since the mid-'80s and all of a sudden he's emailing me asking me for help and guidance.  He says he finally found a place where he feels he belongs – in a monastery.  And now here I am attending Divine Liturgy and feeling a call toward the Orthodox Church as the church which preserves the true apostolic tradition.  I feel torn, simply because I want to be honest with my brother about where I am, but without adding any confusion while he’s on his journey toward Christ.   It really feels like I have to present myself as Catholic to him to support him, which feels quite hypocritical of me.  So that's another challenge I face in my journey into Orthodoxy.  I want him to attend a Divine Liturgy for comparative purposes (it's so beautiful!), but hesitate mentioning it to him since the "Catholic thing" is so new and I desperately don't want to jeopardize it through anything I may do or say.  If you would, I ask that you also keep him in your prayers, and me, so that I know how best to act to support him find Christ. 

In Christ,
Andrew
« Last Edit: September 28, 2009, 03:30:46 PM by ATX » Logged
katherineofdixie
Archon
********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 3,200



« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2009, 04:28:27 PM »

Honesty, in a loving spirit, is always best, I think. When we try to second guess ourselves or others, we get ourselves messed up - the old tangled web.
Depending on the age of your boys, couldn't you tell the truth about where you spend your Sunday mornings? Perhaps you could tell your wife that it bothers you to lie, even by omission, and while you do want to honor her wishes, and show respect, you also believe that "honesty is the best policy."
Logged

"If but ten of us lead a holy life, we shall kindle a fire which shall light up the entire city."

 St. John Chrysostom
Alveus Lacuna
Taxiarches
**********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA (Old Calendar)
Posts: 6,789



« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2009, 04:32:48 PM »

I have no advice, but I will pray for you and your brother.  Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.  I love reading these stories that people bring to the forum.

How serious was your upbringing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  I live just a stone's throw away from their Garden of Eden in Jackson County, Missouri.  There are a lot of Reformed Latter-day Saint churches around where I live, now called the Community of Christ.  Up until recently, they retained the biological line of Joseph Smith, Jr. in their headship.  Anyway, Mormonism is fascinating to me.  Have you been inside the temples?  If so, can you explain some of the secret rites to us?  Also, do the normal church services follow any sort of liturgical structure?  I only ask because as I understand it the temple rites are very specific, so I didn't know if the rubrics for weekly worship are rigidly structured.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2009, 04:35:29 PM by Alveus Lacuna » Logged
ATX
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 45



« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2009, 05:16:27 PM »

I have no advice, but I will pray for you and your brother.  Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.  I love reading these stories that people bring to the forum.

How serious was your upbringing in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints?  I live just a stone's throw away from their Garden of Eden in Jackson County, Missouri.  There are a lot of Reformed Latter-day Saint churches around where I live, now called the Community of Christ.  Up until recently, they retained the biological line of Joseph Smith, Jr. in their headship.  Anyway, Mormonism is fascinating to me.  Have you been inside the temples?  If so, can you explain some of the secret rites to us?  Also, do the normal church services follow any sort of liturgical structure?  I only ask because as I understand it the temple rites are very specific, so I didn't know if the rubrics for weekly worship are rigidly structured.

My LDS upbringing was extremely serious.  My Mormon roots go back five generations on both sides of the family, all the way back to the first waves of English conversions in the 1830s.  My ancestors drove wagons and pulled handcarts across the Plains to Utah in the 1840s.  That background should tell you that I didn't belong to the Missouri-based Reorganized church linked to Joseph Smith's descendants, but rather to the much larger and more visible Utah sect linked to Brigham Young.  It also means that I have polygamy in my ancestry, since the Missouri sect always refused to accept that polygamy was valid - one of the reasons, along with the succession issue after Joseph Smith's assassination, the Missouri sect exists. 

Yes, I have been inside a Mormon temple.  I've been in four of them to be precise - the most important one in Salt Lake City (that's where I was married), another in a Salt Lake suburb, one in St. George, Utah, and the one in Provo, Utah across the street from the BYU campus.  I also served a mission, you know, the men on bikes in white shirts and ties and a name tag.   That was me almost 25 years ago, when I was 19-21 years old, the standard age when Mormon males serve their mission.  I also graduated from 4 years of seminary, though it's different for Mormons.  You don't go to seminary to become a priest.  Rather, seminary is for teens in junior and high school to teach them the doctrines of the faith.  I graduated from seminary in Utah and received my diploma, the same year I received my high school diploma in a public school.  In Utah, seminary is tied to attendance during the last four years of the public school curriculum, grades 9-12.  Seminary is a course you take during the regular school year and it's added to your high school schedule.  Mormons get around the obvious church-state issues by placing the seminary building on church property in close proximity to the school and signing up for "Release Time" on the school schedule.  In high school, the seminary building and school were connected by a sidewalk and separated by a fence.  So yes, it's safe to say that my upbringing in the LDS church was very serious.  I spent nearly my entire life in it, and only left it officially in March '08 when I was baptized a Roman Catholic.  I knew nothing about Orthodoxy at the time, ironically enough.  It was through my continuing studies of Catholic history that I discovered Orthodoxy and learned the shocking (to me) truth that it best preserves the organization, traditions, and worship of the early Christian church.  The first shock came as a Mormon, when I learned there was no Great Apostasy and that the earliest Christian worship was liturgical.  That's what made me Catholic.  The shock about what Catholicism has jettisoned over the years came only within the last 8 months or so, which is why I now attend divine liturgy.

I'm happy to answer any questions you might have about Mormonism.  Regarding the temple, let me briefly say (due to lack of time at the moment for more detail) that, ironically, Orthodoxy today, Catholicism (originally, but less so now with the dilution of the liturgy), and Mormonism share a temple orientation and rites derived from the Jewish temple.  The difference is that Orthodoxy and Catholicism all come from the same source: the Apostles, who were all temple-attending Jews who received their teaching from Jesus himself.  Mormon temple rites come from the esoteric tradition in the West, through the Masonic Lodge.  That esoteric tradition is rooted in gnosticism, which is a corruption of the authentic Apostolic tradition.  That explains why Mormon temples have a veil and the doctrine of human deification, just as Orthodoxy has the iconostasis and theosis.  Both are rooted in the Jewish temple, but Mormonism derives from heretical traditions that corrupted the original temple-based apostolic teaching about the meaning of sacrifice in a temple context.  An Orthodox temple is all about Jesus as our Great High Priest, the lamb of God, and how His eternal sacrifice washes away our sins; the Mormon temple is all about gaining special knowledge reserved for the select, righteous few, including the wearing of special temple clothing (patterned after the clothes masons in the early 19th century wore), transmission of sacred symbols, a new name, handshakes, and passwords as the key to pass through the temple veil - all of which was borrowed from the masonic lodge and the gnostic, esoteric tradition and elaborated upon by Joseph Smith when he created the LDS temple rituals.   Traditional christian topics like atonement and sacrifice are emphasized in LDS church buildings during the weekly worship services; the gnostic, esoteric approach is the emphasis of the rites in LDS temples.  This is a huge topic.   But suffice to say that I am very familiar with the LDS temple rituals and how they've changed over the years, as well as their origin - though active LDS will disagree with me, of course.  They believe Joseph Smith received the temple rites by revelation from God, and those in the know frankly acknowledge the similarity between the masonic lodge and the LDS temple.  Like Joseph Smith, who first offered the explanation, they believe that the masons have a corrupted rite inherited from the Temple of Solomon and that Joseph Smith restored the true temple rite.  This is poppycock, of course.  Scholars are well aware of what kinds of things occurred in the first Jerusalem temple, and they didn't look like the masonic lodge.  Anyway, as I said, this is a huge topic.  We can discuss this further if you wish.  It might be easier to just point you to the sources I consulted as I investigated these topics.  I'm no scholar, just a consumer.

In Christ,
Andrew
« Last Edit: September 28, 2009, 05:20:56 PM by ATX » Logged
ATX
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 45



« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2009, 05:30:06 PM »

Honesty, in a loving spirit, is always best, I think. When we try to second guess ourselves or others, we get ourselves messed up - the old tangled web.
Depending on the age of your boys, couldn't you tell the truth about where you spend your Sunday mornings? Perhaps you could tell your wife that it bothers you to lie, even by omission, and while you do want to honor her wishes, and show respect, you also believe that "honesty is the best policy."

You are right, of course.  I just struggle when things are tense between me and my wife.  It hasn't been easy over the years, we both come from troubled families, and those kinds of stresses have been enough to deal with.  I literally experience anxiety and headaches when there's tension at home, which makes me work very hard to prevent stress, almost like I'm avoiding confrontations at all costs.  It's easier to just go along with her wishes rather than be honest with my boys since I imagine in my head that, once again, I'm stressing her out - which leads to the anxiety, etc., and attendant irritability, since I just want her to come with me out of Mormonism and it all seems so hopeless.  Does that even make sense?   It's a strange emotional dynamic that I experience on Sundays.  I don't handle being exposed to Mormons and Mormonism very well and it shows.  Sundays are always a struggle and tense at home and it shouldn't be, and I know it's my own dang fault.  I feel peace at Divine Liturgy, immense, glorious peace.  That's my salvation on those days.  And then I come home to Mormonism the next thing you know dad is a bear.  But you're right.  Honesty is best.  I know part of my frustration on Sundays is because I don't feel like I can just be myself.  And it's so easy to just take it out on my wife through emotional distance and crabbiness, when it's just me lacking faith in Christ and lacking in hope.   I have placed my hope in Christ that one day I can be transformed and get rid of these unpleasant habits of mine, but in the meanwhile it's definitely a struggle.

In Christ,
Andrew 
Logged
Agia Marina
Site Supporter
Elder
*****
Online Online

Faith: Eastern Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA, Bulgarian Diocese
Posts: 408


St. Marina of Antioch


WWW
« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2009, 01:44:06 AM »

Andrew, it must be very difficult to live with that stress and tension especially from the one person who shares your life so intimately.  I agree with katherineofdixie about honesty, though.  And, the only thing I can suggest is to be an imitation of Christ.  Unless your wife has hardened her heart, she will see the difference in you.  In the meantime, I will keep you in my prayers. 

In IC XC
EVOO
Smiley
Logged

“When I have a little money I buy books; and if any is left, I buy food and clothes.” - Erasmus

"God became man so that man might become a god." ~St. Athanasius the Great

Poster formerly known as EVOO.
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2009, 04:51:56 AM »

When you say that you are currently affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, does that mean that you have been baptized/confirmed in the Church? If so, do you actively practice your faith? (attend services, etc.)
Logged
ATX
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 45



« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2009, 09:10:13 AM »

Andrew, it must be very difficult to live with that stress and tension especially from the one person who shares your life so intimately.  I agree with katherineofdixie about honesty, though.  And, the only thing I can suggest is to be an imitation of Christ.  Unless your wife has hardened her heart, she will see the difference in you.  In the meantime, I will keep you in my prayers. 

In IC XC
EVOO
Smiley

Yes, it's hard, but my wife definitely does not have a hard heart.  She just wants unity with her husband and only knows Mormonism.  She doesn't understand why I left the Mormon Church to become a Catholic, nor why I am now attending an Orthodox church - though she does seem intrigued by some of the things about Orthodoxy I'm sharing with her.  As I suggested, Catholicism is the anti-Christ to Mormons, but Orthodoxy is mysterious.  When I was a Mormon, all I "knew" was that Orthodox Christians all lived in the East and the men wore long beards and strange hats. 

I do need to improve my attitude at home.  But it's hard given the fact that I have essentially turned my back on my family and my people by leaving the church.  While a Mormon, I viewed such defection as betrayal and now I'm the one who has done the betraying.  This makes is difficult to even want to look at a Mormon church building.  It's too easy for me to imagine my fellow church members saying the same things about me that we all used to say about those who left the church when I was still part of it.  It's also hard when I only want my sons to learn about Christ and they bring home a study guide from the Mormon church that is 98% about the lives of the current leaders in Salt Lake, including a handy matching game to help my boys memorize the names of all of the top leaders.  There were a couple of little pictures of Jesus way in the back of the guide, while the leadership photos were larger and took up three of the four pages in the document.  Maybe it's innocuous, but it sure bugged me when I saw it.  This is fairly typical in Mormonism.  Though central, Jesus is only a part of the Mormon faith, whereas in Orthodoxy and Catholicism Jesus is the faith.   

Thank you for your prayers.  I pray that I may truly imitate Christ in my home.

In Christ,
Andrew

Logged
ATX
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 45



« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2009, 09:17:40 AM »

When you say that you are currently affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church, does that mean that you have been baptized/confirmed in the Church? If so, do you actively practice your faith? (attend services, etc.)

Yes, I was baptized and confirmed - at the Easter Vigil in March 2008.  I do not actively practice my faith, since I am now attending an Orthodox church.  It doesn't feel right to attend Mass and receive communion since the basic assumption is that when I do so I am asserting that I agree with everything the Catholic Church teaches.  I do believe that Catholic sacraments are valid, the same as in the Orthodox Church.  But since my baptism, I have come to view the Catholic Church as the schismatic institution.  I definitely don't want to be a church hopper, but I can't deny the things I've learned in the past 8 months or so about what Christianity really looked like and believed in the first centuries after Christ's life on earth.  That's why I decided to begin attending Divine Liturgy.  I am convinced that the Orthodox Church truly preserves the authentic Apostolic Tradition.  But this is the product of study.  I want to believe it in my bones, which is why I'm taking it nice and slow.  Thanks for your response.

In Christ,
Andrew
Logged
Ortho_cat
Protokentarchos
*********
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: AOCA-DWMA
Posts: 5,392



« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2009, 09:30:38 AM »

On days I attend Divine Liturgy, I have a wonderful experience and them come home and feel pressured by my wife to deflect questions from my boys about where I was during the morning hours. 

Did you used to experience the same resistance from your wife when attending mass services? Did your children know that you were Roman Catholic?



« Last Edit: September 29, 2009, 09:32:07 AM by Ortho_cat » Logged
ATX
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Faith: Orthodox
Jurisdiction: OCA
Posts: 45



« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2009, 09:51:12 AM »

On days I attend Divine Liturgy, I have a wonderful experience and them come home and feel pressured by my wife to deflect questions from my boys about where I was during the morning hours. 

Did you used to experience the same resistance from your wife when attending mass services? Did your children know that you were Roman Catholic?


Yes there was resistance and yes my boys knew, but only because I had Catholic books lying around.  I took the boys to mass twice, but I never sat them down and told them their dad was a Catholic.  My precocious 10 year old figured it out and now he sees Orthodox books lying around.  He knows something is up.  But again, I haven't sat the boys down to tell them my plans.  The resistance in my wife is considerably lower in intensity, however, now that I'm attending Divine Liturgy.  Anti-Catholicism used to be virulent in Mormonism, though this has lessened over the years.  But it still impacts those - like my wife - who were raised in that culture.  This always made it very hard to go to Mass.  Every time my wife found out it would upset her, though to her credit she supported me in my decision to become Catholic.  I know it just about killed her to witness it, but she was in attendance at my baptism.  She really is wonderful, just confused about where I am spiritually since Mormonism is all she knows.  The stress has lessened considerably now that I'm attending an Orthodox church.  As I said, Orthodoxy lacks the unfortunate history that Catholicism possesses (inquisitions, bad popes, etc.).  When Mormons think about the Mass, those are the images that pop into their heads.  I know, I used to be one and we all talked about it all the time in church.  I admit that the absence of those associations in Orthodoxy give me hope that maybe one day my wife's interest will be piqued enough to want to attend Divine Liturgy with me.  That is certainly one part of my decision to begin my inquiry into Orthodoxy in the first place.  But it's not the most important part.  Catholicism really has jettisoned key aspects of Christian worship and I want to participate in the fullest expression of what the Apostles originally established in the years following Pentecost. 

In Christ,
Andrew
Logged
Tags:
Pages: 1   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.18 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!
Page created in 0.078 seconds with 38 queries.