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019: Strengthening a Friendship While Disclosing a Faith Journey

By March 19, 2017podcast
In this episode Dr. Money along with Marco, our podcast editor, and two of his active LDS friends, Saul and Katelyn attempt to answer a listener’s question about how to disclose their faith journey to a close friend without losing that valued friendship.

We discuss how Marco disclosed his own faith journey with Saul, how he and Katelyn reacted, and best practices for assuring the disclosing doesn’t turn into a burned bridge.

For context, you can find the letter Marco wrote to disclose his faith journey to Saul.

[Letter]

Saul,

My friend – I like these catch-up sessions. I’ve probably started this email 10+ times but pulled back because I didn’t know how deep these emails should be. Then I thought: “hey, you’re talking to your friend Saul” and I decided I’d be transparent….

[omitted non-relevant content]

…The last point I want to touch on is my faith. Besides my wife and my Bishop Saul – you’re the first person I’ve commented about this and I’d love to get your thoughts/insight. I’ve always tried to be a good person – I do have my faults, but I’ve always to tried to overcome them. I’ve always felt the Church was a place where I could grow and improve. But I have to tell you that about 4 months ago in Sunday school we were talking about the Priesthood and how in 1978 it was opened to all worthy males. It is a topic that always made me sick to my stomach. It seems so odd now that was the norm back then and I asked the older members what was the reason given at the time. Some brought up the curse of Cain (which is doctrinally unsound) then there was awkward silence and we moved on. But Saul – I couldn’t get it out of my mind. Especially understanding that Joseph Smith had in fact ordained black members of the church – what changed?

It nagged at me and I begin to research. Saul, it occurs to me that there is a chance that you might construe this as my attempting to convince you at some point, I want to assure this is not the case – I am merely attempting to clarify what my thoughts are/were so I can attempt to gain more understanding on my feelings. With that said, the sick feeling in my stomach led me to research. I wanted to try to gain an understanding of when/why things changed after Joseph Smith as perhaps it would shed light/understanding and bring me to a satisfying resolution. It was hard to find non anti-mormon information on the topic, but I did find information.

The Church’s position is that for reasons unclear today sometime while Brigham Young was the prophet, the practice changed. This practice was continued on for almost 100 years until 1978. Long story short (because I need to get ready for work) – I am pained to think that the tenants that I’ve held to for so long could be wrong. I’ve always believed that the Prophet is the voice of the God – and that should he think of doing something against his will God would take him from this earth. Sadly this did not happen for Brigham, nor for all of the prophets for near 100 years. It is hard for me to believe that God wanted that practice changed – that he would put aside certain people for that long. So I’ve made a decision to put a pause on Church for now. I’m sure this all sounds crazy. It is really hard for me to bring this up w/ anyone. I want to want to try to get some feedback – I’ve continued to pray, and well friend, I hope you can give me some insight.

Sorry if this email is too heavy – but it is simply on my mind. I really appreciate your friendship Saul. Please give my best to your family!

[End Letter]

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About Marco

2 Comments

  • April Cook says:

    Like you this topic has been difficult for me. I have done a lot of research. I have read essays written by members of African decent who defend the church. These essays are filled with so much love and faith by members that have been directly affected. I can’t say that I fully understand the answers to this topic but I know what I do know… I know that the Book of Mormon is the word of God. I know because I have studied it and wrestled with so many questions on other matters that I wanted to understand. Every time I set aside my doubt or my thought of what the answer should be, and follow the “study, ponder and pray” prescription, with the intent of proving the gospel and/or the Church rather than wrong (I have learned this is a crucial element), I come to a place of light, peace and understanding. Some wrestling took years to overcome but I found that with persistence the answers were so overwhelmingly sublime that I knew they came from Heavenly Father. I can’t say that I have all the answers now but I have followed this pattern so many times, always with this positive result that my faith is unshaken in matters that I do not understand. Don’t give up. Understanding God is like obtaining a PhD – it takes time, effort, study and dedication but it is so rewarding.

    • Marco says:

      Hi April – thank you for taking the time to write a very heart felt message. To be honest this particular issue was, in a way, the tip of the proverbial iceberg. I totally validate that the approach you’ve outlined above has been very helpful to you – at the same time however, I’ve come to accept that the same prescription did not work for me as I attempted it for 9 months or so. I’ve actually found peace/joy in accepting my answer and moving on.

      I will say though that the goal of sharing this particular note was to give context to how empowering Saul & Katelyn’s reaction was.

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