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Author Topic: Why do I still feel hesitant?  (Read 1306 times) Average Rating: 0
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St_Domnica
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« on: September 21, 2013, 03:48:44 PM »

I've been studying Eastern Orthodoxy for a few months now, I'm going to be declared a catechumen at the end of Divine Liturgy on Sunday. I love the Orthodox Church in a way I've never loved a church and her teachings before (coming from the Episcopal church then the Roman Catholic Church). It's the most beautiful faith I've ever studied, and I walk out of Liturgy and the catechumen classes almost giddy with excitement about this faith. However, an almost always present nagging feeling resides in the back of my brain. I feel a pain in my heart sometimes that feels like "Don't do this. It's wrong. No." I know it's coinciding with my desire to convert. I can't seem to shake it. I don't know if it's just the "catholic shame" that's been imbedded  on me or if I believe subconsciously that I really am doing wrong by converting to Orthodoxy. I desperately hope it's not the latter. I've been afraid to bring it up to my (Orthodox) priest because I feel like he'd think I was just wasting his time. Have any of you former converts ever felt the same? How did you conquer that the suspicion that you might be doing wrong in converting?
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« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2013, 04:08:27 PM »

This may be less than useful, since it is not quite the same.

Nominally i am a protestant, so my personal issues are just that of most protestant converts.

BUT

My entire family on my mother's side, belong to a religion that broke away from Orthodoxy in the 11th c. or so.  What people here would really and truly allowed to be called heretics.  My mother herself married outside the group and faith (they practice endogomy) but i was raised around my grandmother and relatives.

I understand what they believe and practice, and have some measure of pride in this very unique heritage of mine.


Of -course- I have hesitations...my ancestors were tortured, jailed and sometimes killed by the Orthodox, simply for not being Orthodox.  It's a giant big huge mess of mental spiders in my head about this...They are iconoclasts, so every single time I venerate or even cross myself, I do something they were exiled and punished for NOT doing. They didn't keep the fasts, ad so every time i screw up and forget to fast or decide in my sinfulness not to, I think of them how if it was ok for them.....


Yet I persist....slowly, because I believe it to be the right path for myself.

That would be my advice to you, there is no hurry, no deadline...

and talk to your Priest....if you are sincere even at the pace of a snail, he will not believe his time is wasted. 

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« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2013, 04:12:32 PM »

What group are you talking about?
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« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2013, 04:15:21 PM »

for this discussion its somewhat irrelevant...since its how i personally -feel- hesitant and can sympathize with the poster.

I tend to be a bit hesitant in saying, because its not my place to expose them to a forum of 'heretic shaming' net-doxy folks....

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« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2013, 04:17:20 PM »

The only group that more-less fits your  description are Bogomils but they are extint since XVth century.
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« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2013, 04:25:51 PM »

I've been studying Eastern Orthodoxy for a few months now, I'm going to be declared a catechumen at the end of Divine Liturgy on Sunday. I love the Orthodox Church in a way I've never loved a church and her teachings before (coming from the Episcopal church then the Roman Catholic Church). It's the most beautiful faith I've ever studied, and I walk out of Liturgy and the catechumen classes almost giddy with excitement about this faith. However, an almost always present nagging feeling resides in the back of my brain. I feel a pain in my heart sometimes that feels like "Don't do this. It's wrong. No." I know it's coinciding with my desire to convert. I can't seem to shake it. I don't know if it's just the "catholic shame" that's been imbedded  on me or if I believe subconsciously that I really am doing wrong by converting to Orthodoxy. I desperately hope it's not the latter. I've been afraid to bring it up to my (Orthodox) priest because I feel like he'd think I was just wasting his time. Have any of you former converts ever felt the same? How did you conquer that the suspicion that you might be doing wrong in converting?


Trust me, I feel the same way as a Protestant. But I know Protestantism isn't true, it can't be. For me, it's just "regressing to the norm" that all humans experience when they are changing. I can't continue as a Protestant, and Roman Catholicism has way too much innovated doctrine that I couldn't become one knowing that there are clear innovations there.

I know that it feels like you shouldn't do it, but think deeply about why you can continue as you are. I cannot continue as I am.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2013, 04:28:19 PM by xOrthodox4Christx » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2013, 04:26:00 PM »

Well it is the biggest decision you can make, so it's understandable that you might be feeling "cold feet". For me, I can't say my life has gotten any easier since converting from RCism to Orthodoxy. Quite the opposite, and even other people at my church who don't really know me on a personal level have noticed it and commented on it. But it is better to struggle in the Orthodox Church than to struggle outside of it. It is not only more beautiful, it is also true. Is there more than that that you need to know in order to quiet your doubts?

Personally I take as my model in such struggles St. John the Little, who famously prayed to be given enemies so that he might through such challenges be strengthened for the fight against the devil. You can overcome your doubts. If God does not remove the doubts after much prayer and supplication on your part and on the part of your intercessors, pray that you be given the strength to succeed despite them. It is the one who endures to the end that will be saved, not necessarily the one who has the least doubts or the easiest time overcoming them.
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« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2013, 05:07:59 PM »

I am not a member of the Orthodox Church nor have I ever undergone a conversion to any faith beyond the one I was raised in but I can understand your hesitation. I myself, when I awoke this morning, resolved to attend the local Antiochian Orthodox parish (services begin in 3 1/2 hours) but am now experiencing severe doubts. This would be one of my first real world experiences and I don't know if I can do it.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2013, 05:08:22 PM by Hawkeye » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2013, 10:42:09 PM »

Give it time. Take it slow. Stay the course.
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« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2013, 11:09:05 PM »

I think this is normal,your in my prayers.
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« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2013, 11:12:34 PM »

Hawkeye,it was the most wonderful thing I ever did.Go












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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2013, 11:15:53 PM »

Hawkeye,it was the most wonderful thing I ever did.Go

I did end up going but after walking for an hour and a half I couldn't muster the strength to approach the church proper, much to my shame.
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« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2013, 11:18:19 PM »

Hawkeye,it was the most wonderful thing I ever did.Go

I did end up going but after walking for an hour and a half I couldn't muster the strength to approach the church proper, much to my shame.

There's always next week.  Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2013, 11:28:11 PM »

There's always next week.  Smiley

There won't be a resident priest next week. Every other week one of two comes to serve and this weekend both of them are here. If ever I should have gone it should have been today.
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« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2013, 11:30:09 PM »

There's always next week.  Smiley

There won't be a resident priest next week. Every other week one of two comes to serve and this weekend both of them are here. If ever I should have gone it should have been today.

Then go the next time a priest will be serving. The church will still be there.  Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2013, 02:46:10 AM »

Hawkeye,it was the most wonderful thing I ever did.Go

I did end up going but after walking for an hour and a half I couldn't muster the strength to approach the church proper, much to my shame.

I must have done the same thing for months before finally going proper. Go next time a priest is there, I had to force myself the first time physically despite mentally wanting to go.
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« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2013, 01:47:24 PM »

I've been studying Eastern Orthodoxy for a few months now, I'm going to be declared a catechumen at the end of Divine Liturgy on Sunday. I love the Orthodox Church in a way I've never loved a church and her teachings before (coming from the Episcopal church then the Roman Catholic Church). It's the most beautiful faith I've ever studied, and I walk out of Liturgy and the catechumen classes almost giddy with excitement about this faith. However, an almost always present nagging feeling resides in the back of my brain. I feel a pain in my heart sometimes that feels like "Don't do this. It's wrong. No." I know it's coinciding with my desire to convert. I can't seem to shake it. I don't know if it's just the "catholic shame" that's been imbedded  on me or if I believe subconsciously that I really am doing wrong by converting to Orthodoxy. I desperately hope it's not the latter. I've been afraid to bring it up to my (Orthodox) priest because I feel like he'd think I was just wasting his time. Have any of you former converts ever felt the same? How did you conquer that the suspicion that you might be doing wrong in converting?


Conversion isn't easy. It is a good thing, but it takes time. Best of luck to you.  angel
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« Reply #17 on: September 24, 2013, 10:01:29 AM »

I wouldn't look at The Church as a correct decision, but a way of being. I have the same attitude towards misunderstood Orthodoxy as I have towards other, well, heresies. If Orthodoxy is yet another denomination, another religious (as in worldly) system, then what's the use of it. It has to be more, it has to be human nature, it has to be what unites all humanity and what unites us with God. That's how I see Orthodoxy, but I believe it is largely misunderstood and that's why people mostly stay away from it (and other denominations).
So, I understand hesitation from many perspectives. I have my own hesitations.

Yet, in my experience, Orthodoxy is really what I would want a religion to be and nothing else. In fact, Orthodoxy is the one religion that is not a religion (what most people hate). Orthodoxy is love, life, beauty, harmony, etc., on a perfect and divine level because it comes from God Himself and He is literally present. Orthodoxy doesn't work without The Grace of God, His literal presence within us. Obviously, this is not the case with other denominations where the emphasis is put on the powers of the human being. Given our spiritual illness (we are infected with sin) the Orthodox way is to heal, not to correct the human being, or save it from some judicial Hell. Orthodoxy restores human nature and brings it back to its normal state (in communion with God through His Grace).

Surely, in a way, what I said above seems to be what I want Orthodoxy to be. Of course it is because we have a free will and rationality, so we would never accept what we don't need, what we don't desire. Yet, there are no gimmicks as far as I am concerned because what I want Orthodoxy to be is surely what I understand that many others, including God, want it to be. Is Orthodoxy the truth faith? Well, I wouldn't answer this by comparing it with other denominations. I would simply figure out if Orthodoxy is the very Truth. The simple Truth is the real judge.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2013, 10:02:36 AM by IoanC » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2013, 12:53:57 PM »

I had hesitations before I converted too. I think its normal. I was worried about what would my protestant family and friends say and that I'd basically be going to church by myself, at least at first. I also second guessed the new Truth I had learned since discovering Orthodoxy. Even today sometimes I think about how I wished I could worship with my family and friends.

What keeps me here is that I've learned more Truth and become closer to God far more than I could have as a protestant. I also know that I'm just scratching the surface at what God's going to show me and how my relationship with Him is going to grow.

The main thing is that you don't have to rush or be put on a schedule to be Baptized into the church. Take your time without any pressure.
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« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2013, 04:33:48 PM »

Yes. You will have to wait to see the war the devil will cause after you convert, you have no idea... I know it well...
Discuss it... He won't believe this...
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« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2013, 04:25:23 AM »

I had hesitations before I converted too. I think its normal. I was worried about what would my protestant family and friends say and that I'd basically be going to church by myself, at least at first. I also second guessed the new Truth I had learned since discovering Orthodoxy. Even today sometimes I think about how I wished I could worship with my family and friends.

What keeps me here is that I've learned more Truth and become closer to God far more than I could have as a protestant. I also know that I'm just scratching the surface at what God's going to show me and how my relationship with Him is going to grow.

The main thing is that you don't have to rush or be put on a schedule to be Baptized into the church. Take your time without any pressure.

Hello, I was recently received into the Church and would like to second this (except in my case it was as a Latin).

Pray and discern.   The guilt will be there, but there will come a point where you can no longer stay where you are no matter your feelings. 
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« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2013, 11:50:56 PM »

You know, since I posted this message to the board, I've felt less and less of the "catholic guilt". I've praying to be lead to the truth, and that nagging feeling is almost gone. I keep going back to all the innovations that came into the Catholic church via Vatican II and about all the scandals that seem to be commonplace within that church. I know all churches have their problems, regardless of being Catholic, Orthodox, or even protestant. But I seem to keep coming back to this: if the roman catholic church was truly THE CHURCH of Christ, would he really let the church be plagued by all these hideous scandals and innovations? I remember reading someone say of Catholicism, "If the church was ever wrong, it's not the true Church."

"The gates of hell shall not prevail against [the Church]."

Thank you to everyone who replied to my posting!
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« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2013, 02:34:43 PM »

You know, since I posted this message to the board, I've felt less and less of the "catholic guilt". I've praying to be lead to the truth, and that nagging feeling is almost gone. I keep going back to all the innovations that came into the Catholic church via Vatican II and about all the scandals that seem to be commonplace within that church. I know all churches have their problems, regardless of being Catholic, Orthodox, or even protestant. But I seem to keep coming back to this: if the roman catholic church was truly THE CHURCH of Christ, would he really let the church be plagued by all these hideous scandals and innovations? I remember reading someone say of Catholicism, "If the church was ever wrong, it's not the true Church."

"The gates of hell shall not prevail against [the Church]."

Thank you to everyone who replied to my posting!
Just a note, there are plenty of scandals that take place in the Orthodox Church.  Don't allow yourself to become shaken when people within the Church misuse it for their own personal gain.  I do agree with you about the many doctrinal innovations however.  Best wishes on your journey!
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« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2013, 05:47:10 PM »

Have any of you former converts ever felt the same? How did you conquer that the suspicion that you might be doing wrong in converting?


Sure, this is natural.  But what made my mind up was the post VATII church and all the trappings.  What I finally did was to investigate faiths, Protestant and Orthodox.  It was the reading of the Fathers of the church that did it for me.  Keep in mind, I was a Traditional Catholic of some 50+ years prior to my decision to seek out a more fuller expression of the catholic faith.  Orthodoxy was the home I was looking for and I haven't looked back at all.  This is not to say that I still have some baggage left over from my old faith that I sometimes discuss with my priest, but other than that I have been very content in my convertion.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2013, 05:48:06 PM by JoeS2 » Logged
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« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2013, 11:57:07 PM »

Quote
Sure, this is natural.  But what made my mind up was the post VATII church and all the trappings.  What I finally did was to investigate faiths, Protestant and Orthodox.  It was the reading of the Fathers of the church that did it for me.  Keep in mind, I was a Traditional Catholic of some 50+ years prior to my decision to seek out a more fuller expression of the catholic faith.  Orthodoxy was the home I was looking for and I haven't looked back at all.  This is not to say that I still have some baggage left over from my old faith that I sometimes discuss with my priest, but other than that I have been very content in my convertion.

Can you recommend any books on the early Church Fathers?
« Last Edit: October 03, 2013, 11:58:19 PM by St_Domnica » Logged
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