Das folgende Dokument haben wir verfasst, um Führern der Kirche den Zweck der regionalen Mormon Stories Gruppen deutlich zu machen. Dieses Dokument ist auch für Mitglieder der Mormon Stories Germany Gruppe hilfreich, die ihren regionalen Kirchenführern aufzeigen wollen, dass Mormon Stories keine anti-mormonische Organisation ist. Mitglieder von Mormon Stories sind dazu eingeladen, den link zu dieser Seite weiter zu geben oder eine pdf Version des Dokuments für Gemeinde- und Pfahlleiterschaften auszudrucken.
Was ist Mormon Stories?
Im Jahr 2005 begann John Dehlin, ein Mitglied der Kirche Jesu Christi der Heiligen der Letzten Tage, einen Podcast mit dem Fokus auf bewusste Ergründung des Mormonismus als religiöse und kulturelle Tradition. Der Podcast hat seitdem viele Aspekte des Mormonismus beleuchtet und Persönlichkeiten wie Richard Bushman, Daniel Peterson, Terryl Givens sowie Wissenschaftler, Psychologen, Filmemacher, Künstler und einfache Mitglieder der Kirche interviewt und ihnen die Möglichkeit gegeben, ihre Stimme hören zu lassen. Die Mormon Stories Podcast Zuhörerschaft ist auf 10.000 – 30.000 downloads pro Folge angewachsen.
Im Februar 2010 haben Dehlin und ein aus ehrenamtlichen Mitwirkenden bestehender Vorstand die Open Stories Foundation gegründet, um als organisatorische Basis für die Mormon Stories Podcasts und die Gemeinschaft der Zuhörer zu dienen. Im März 2011 war Mormon Stories Gastgeber der ersten regionalen Konferenz in New York City und organisierte über 40 regionale Zweiggemeinschaften in aller Welt, die eine persönliche Interaktion und echte und unmittelbare Hilfe möglich machen konnten. Die Regionen in Salt Lake City, San Diego, Kalifornien, Atlanta, Washington D.C. und Schweden haben daraufhin eigene regionale Konferenzen abgehalten die hunderten von Teilnehmern die Möglichkeit eröffneten, ihrer Perspektive über den Glauben und die kirchliche Erfahrung Ausdruck zu verleihen.
Mormon Stories Wertekanon
Dies sind die Leitwerte für die Mormon Stories Podcasts, die Konferenzen sowie die regionalen Gemeinschaften:
- Wir erkennen die Reichhaltigkeit mormonischen Erbes und mormonischer Lehre und Gesellschaft in all ihrer Vielfalt an.
- Wir glauben, dass jemand sich aufgrund seiner Vorfahren, familiärer Wurzeln, Glaubensprinzipien, Beziehungen oder anderer Grundlagen als Mormone bezeichnen kann unabhängig davon, ob derjenige die Lehre oder Doktrin irgendeiner Religion des Mormonismus teilt.
- Wir suchen Räume, wo wir als Mormonen ein Leben in intellektueller und spiritueller Integrität, Reinheit des Gewissens und Würde führen können.
- Wir würdigen und ehren unterschiedliche spirituelle Pfade oder Ausdrucksformen religiöser und nicht-religiöser Wahrheitssuche. Wir respektieren die Überzeugungen von Menschen, deren Ideen und Glaubensprinzipien sich von unseren unterscheiden.
- Wir verstehen und würdigen die Verwirrung, den seelischen Schmerz, das emotionale Trauma und die soziale Ausgrenzung, welche Menschen häufig erfahren, die sich auf dem Pfad ihrer eigenen Glaubensentwicklung befinden. Wir versuchen Möglichkeiten zu finden, diesen Menschen zu helfen und sie zu unterstützen, unabhängig davon, wie sie sich in Bezug auf Kirchenzugehörigkeit oder -Aktivität entscheiden mögen.
- Wir bejahen den angeborenen und gleichen Wert eines jeden Menschen und wir suchen Räume wo Mormonen (und alle Menschen) als Gleiche und unabhängig von Rasse, Geschlecht oder sexueller Orientierung miteinander umgehen können. In diesem Geist der Gleichheit bevorzugen wir nicht-authoritäre und hierarchiearme Formen der Organisation und Zugehörigkeit.
Was ist eine regionale Mormon Stories Gemeinschaft?
Regionale Mormon Stories Gemeinschaften möchten Orte sein, die Schutz und Unterstützung bieten, wo Mitglieder authentischen Umgang haben können, echte Freundschaften bauen und ihre Lebensgeschichten mitteilen können. Diese Gemeinschaften wurden organisiert, um eine zusätzliche Dimension zu den bereits bestehenden Internet-basierten Gemeinschaften zu schaffen.
Diese Gemeinschaften heissen Mormonen aus allen Bereichen des Orthodoxiespektrums willkommen, sie sind jedoch besonders wertvoll für Menschen, die eine Glaubenskrise durchmachen oder durchgemacht haben. Viele Mitglieder der regionalen Mormon Stories Gemeinschaften haben grossen Schmerz und Verzweiflung erlebt, nachdem sie im Internet oder durch Bekannte auf neue Informationen über die Kirche gestossen sind. Viele empfinden Isolation oder eine Form der Entfremdung, weil sie meinen, dass ihnen durch ihre Familien, durch die Kirchenräson oder die kirchliche Gemeinschaft schlimme Konsequenzen drohen. Die regionalen Mormon Stories Gemeinschaften versuchen diesen Schmerz, diese Verzweiflung und diese Gefühle der Ausgrenzung zu lindern, indem sie sichere und reale Orte schaffen, wo Mormonen einander in Gemeinschaften gegenseitigen Respekts, Akzeptanz und Liebe unterstützen und stärken können, während sie gleichzeitig weiterhin die mormonische Kultur und Werte in ihrem Leben reflektieren.
Regionale Mormon Stories Gemeinschaften bestehen aus Personen, die sich freiwillig mit dem Mormonismus identifizieren wollen. Die Open Stories Foundation, die Mormon Stories Podcasts und die regionalen Mormon Stories Gemeinschaften versuchen nicht ihre Mitglieder davon zu überzeugen in der Kirche zu bleiben oder sie zu verlassen oder irgendwelche Änderung an ihrer Glaubenspraxis oder ihrer Kirchenmitgliedschaft vorzunehmen. Sicherlich haben Mitglieder unterschiedliche Erfahrungen mit den regionalen Gemeinschaften. Als Konsequenz aus der Aktivität in der Mormon Stories Gemeinschaft haben Manche sich dazu entschlossen, die Kirche zu verlassen. Andere haben durch Mormon Stories und die regionalen Gemeinschaften die Kraft gefunden, nach Jahren der Inaktivität wieder aktiv zu werden oder, wenn sie immer schon aktiv waren, es auch zu bleiben. Der Zweck der Mormon Stories Gemeinschaften ist es, Mitglieder zu unterstützen und zu bestärken unabhängig davon, welche Lebensentscheidungen sie fällen.
Zeugnisse von Mitgliedern regionaler Mormon Stories Gemeinschaften:
Folgend sind einige Aussagen von Mitgliedern von Mormon Stories Gemeinschaften zusammengetragen in denen sie beschreiben, wie Mormon Stories ihre Beziehung zur Kirche beeinflusst:
- “Mormon Stories and its local communities have helped me understand that there are others within the church who have similar doubts and concerns. By interacting with each other I think we’re all finding ways to stay active in the church and still be true to ourselves. It has helped me find a way to remain a moderately-minded, active member.”
- “Mormon Stories is the only reason I have a relationship with the church. Finding out about things in church history that are not only omitted in church, but are often not allowed to be spoken of in meetings, made me feel betrayed. Then, I found Mormon Stories, a community throughout the world that was not afraid to follow the admonition of the Lord in D&C 88:118: “And as all have not faith, seek ye diligently and teach one another words of wisdom; yea, seek ye out of the best books words of wisdom; seek learning, even by study and also by faith.” As I did not have faith, I needed a group who would diligently seek wisdom “from the best books.” Today I remain somewhat active and can say without hesitance that without Mormon Stories I would have resigned my membership by now. More importantly, I am at peace with my family still participating in the church. Mormon Stories has shown me that being Mormon does not necessitate fear of study–that some do still seek knowledge with the same courage Joseph Smith did–I have no problem with my wife and kids activity, or with my wife paying tithing to the church. Not only then do I maintain some relationship with the church, but my family has my blessing to do so, which has probably saved my marriage. Mormon Stories is to thank for that.”
- “Mormon Stories is the place where I found hope when my life was at its darkest point. I found podcasts on this site that helped me through my husband’s “coming out” to me two years ago. He left the Church a few months before he told me he was gay, but I knew that I wanted and needed the Church in my life. I love my ex-husband dearly. He is a wonderful man, but I was struggling to find balance between my love of him and his honorable departure from our marriage and my love of the gospel/Church. I know the gospel is true, but there were so many inconsistencies between what is being taught and preached about homosexuality and the life and teachings of our Savior. I couldn’t make sense of it and felt continually torn between what I knew was true about the love of God and Christ, and the hatred I was hearing for our gay brothers and sisters. When I found Mormon Stories and attended a conference last month, I finally found some peace. I have stayed active in the Church, as have all 5 of my children. I have 3 callings in my ward and still feel that is where I need to be. The Mormon Stories community has helped me find people who are intelligent, caring, kind and supportive of me in a time when I have felt marginalized by the mainstream Mormon population. They are the most Christ-like people I have ever know and I am grateful to my Heavenly Father every day that he inspired me to find them.”
- “At Mormonstories, we can rejoice in our brotherhood, share our struggles, and lift one another on each one of our faith journeys. Too often, in the context of a ward environment, it becomes nearly impossible to ask pointed questions in order to better understand a difficult issue. (Difficult issues are the ones that most often need to be hashed out in order for them not to become the ‘steel wedges’ that may fell our faith in the years to come.) I have been blessed by the other mormonstories contributors’ sharing of their own experiences, and understanding, and through that, have, myself been able to overcome nagging questions over issues only lightly passed over in Sunday School. I see the efforts of mormonstories a lot like the trek out West. It was only because we were willing and able to bear each other’s burdens that we were able to make it to the promised land. I hope you will understand this brother or sister as a person who has been willing to bear my burdens, as I have been eager to be of help to him or her. ”
- “Mormon Stories is one of the main reasons I still have a healthy relationship with both the church and my wife. A faith crisis leads people to seek further knowledge and understanding. That search can lead to a number of different places. My first destination was a message board full of ex-mormons that shared their ideas and opinions about the difficult issues of the church in an angry and antagonistic tone. When I finally found Mormon Stories, I found a thoughtful and encouraging place to better understand the issues that I had been grappling with. Faithful intellectual members of the church present a way of viewing Mormonsim that helped me respect all positions inside the faith and out. There is not a place inside of the church that these tough issues are discussed and where support can given given, not only spiritually and socially, but also intellectually. Mormon Stories provides that haven for me and for thousands more like me. Faith journeys are incredibly personal, please allow members of your stake to find their way without feeling threatened by where their journey takes them.”
- “I am a sixth generation, born in the covenant, returned missionary, married in the temple member. And I remain a member of the LDS Church today because of Mormon Stories, in particular the episode with Richard Bushman. I have always loved Church History. Our heritage is full of intriguing and inspiring stories. Throughout the years, however, as I studied Church History I began to come across historical information that contradicted the Church’s claimed history (all from sources you can obtain from Deseret Book). As a teenager, I did not think too much about these things. As a missionary, I shelved them entirely and focused on the work. However, while in college the inconsistencies and contradictions between the Church’s narrative and the historical record began to mount. The uncomfortable cognitive dissonance began to mount and weigh me down until one night, at a computer lab on campus, I had to admit to myself that the Church is not what it literally claims to be. This was a traumatic experience. In 2006, I found the Mormon Stories podcast. The podcast approached the difficult issues I had been struggling with in a way that was candid, honest and faith promoting. I began to see a new path. That I could find spiritual nourishment and meaning in my membership in the Church even without literal belief. I love being a Mormon. I believe in the good that is in the Church. I have a testimony of the teachings of Jesus Christ. I have a testimony of Zion- the special communities that are a part of the Restored Gospel. I have a testimony of the Spirit and of personal revelation. I have testimony of prayer. I have a testimony today, and my family remains in the Church, because after I could no longer accept literal belief I found another way through Mormon Stories to remain a member. The value of Mormon Stories to me is that it provides information in a way that allows empiricism and faith in the Restoration to coexist. That ability to coexist is why my wife, children and I remain members. My father is still a member because of Mormon Stories as is my brother and my best friend.”
- “I am a young married father of two who appreciates the service provided by Mormon Stories very much. My mom raised me in the church, and as a child I found direction, purpose, and identity in the community and doctrine of the Mormon faith. As I have grown older, my understanding of God and my relationship with Him have matured into something very different than the faith of my childhood, but still essential to my happiness and sense of identity as a Mormon. I have also found a meaningful, useful, and enlightening world-view in science. Unlike the current view that says science and religion are in conflict with one-another, I do not believe that what science tells me about life and the universe is incompatible with my faith. On the contrary! I believe science has deepened my understanding and broadened my perspective on God and creation, and that my faith has given me a moral compass with which to use my new-found knowledge in a humanistic and enlightened way. For me, the Mormon Stories podcasts and community provide a place of understanding and encouragement, without which I would have a much more difficult time confronting the challenges of staying active in the church. Indeed, I can honestly say that my wife and I very possibly would not still be active members of the church without it. I am very grateful for this wonderful, diverse group of saints who understand my difficulties, and allow me to express them in an environment of love and encouragement without passing judgment, or questioning my faith, motives, and worthiness.”
- “I am a true believing Mormon. I am a woman. I have been a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints for my whole life. I love the atonement. I love believing in miracles. I love prophets. I love revelation. I love forgiveness. I love sacred spaces. I find the temple empowering. I love family. I love these ideas and am so glad Mormonism focuses on these things and allows me to really experience them. What first drew me to joining a Mormon Stories regional community was the ways in which the Mormon Stories podcasts strengthened my testimony and helped me develop more empathy and understanding. I have really valued the ways in which the regional communities foster support and acceptance of me. I often think about how isolated I feel from other church members, even though I am a true believing Mormon, because of how different I feel from them. Many of my church friends are very loving and accepting, but are so very conservative (politically, mostly) that I feel afraid to share myself with them. I need a real life support group of church members who accept me as I am. When I interact with my regional MS community, I get that support. Honestly, talking with people–feminists, scientists, homosexuals, apologists–who have navigated through tricky aspects of Mormonism helps me feel like I can stay. I can stay and be accepted.”
- “The Mormon stories community has helped me to realize that there are Mormons like me who think deeply about the gospel, love the theology and are committed to the culture but are naturally questioning, uncomfortable with the judgmental rhetoric and hope to teach my family how to love everyone. Knowing this, I have had courage to express myself more in Sunday school and relief society, I am learning to love the people in my ward, trust that they will be open to my insights and enjoying the opportunities I have to serve in my ward’s relief society. In short, Mormon stories makes me a better Mormon. “
- “Mormon Stories has helped me stay spiritually and physically active in the church. Sometimes it’s not enough to just pray and study the scriptures during a serious faith crisis. I need a forum where there is tolerance for discussion of any and all subjects.”
- “When I was first trying to figure out what to do with my faith crisis and whether to be done with the Church or whether to stay and how to make that work……I heard from someone about MS. I downloaded the podcast “Why to Stay” and it really resonated with me. It helped me to see the good in the Church and to see how to make it work for myself, my kids, and my marriage. It hasn’t been easy and many days I feel out of place BUT I always refer to that podcast and it settles my mind that there is always more way than one way to make something work for you.”
- “I am very active in the church. Despite growing up in the church I had never truly asked myself if the church was true until this past year after a family member died. I had the frantic thought “What if this is all made up and I never see my family member again?!” I felt terrible thinking this but the idea wasn’t easy to shake. The thought crossed my mind that maybe I needed to distance myself from the church while I figured things out. Then I went to a Mormon Stories regional conference and realized that going inactive wasn’t necessary. Our faith promoting host specifically helped me realize that my questions didn’t need to be a wedge between me and the church. He helped me realize that even though I was embarrassed to have doubts, I could use the church as a tool to help answer my questions. Thank you Mormon Stories for helping me to feel accepted and close to the LDS church.”
- “When I read No Man Knows My History as a teenager, there was no Internet, and no place for discussion of nuances. I was isolated. I felt alone, betrayed, didn’t serve a mission and lost almost all of my testimony. Fortunately I married a wonderful believing woman, and we chose to live in a much more accepting community where I could respectfully ask questions and seek answers without being condemned. We have been active in the church now for more than 30 years. Our children are adults now. They’re all active, too. I wish there had been a something like Mormon Stories when I was a teenager. I’m grateful it exists now.”
- “I am an active LDS member in the Midwest, and have been following Mormon Stories content for about two years now. My membership in the Church is very important to me, and to my relationship with my family. I am an Elders Quorum President and an active member of my ward’s leadership council. I sacrifice a considerable amount of time and financial resource to the Church, by my own free will. The things I learn and experience from the Mormon Stories community give me an invaluable additional perspective that is not easily available in other ways. I would not be the same person I am today without it. I feel I am more compassionate, more well-read, a better husband and father, a better EQ president, and better a Mormon by taking advantage of this resource. It is my hope that any Stake President or other member of a disciplinary council would look very closely before judging this group as anything but compassionate, open, and supportive of the Church and its members. Seek only to build, not to tear down. “
- “As a History and Journalism teacher, Mormon Stories was the only venue where I feel I can be honestly be a Mormon with integrity. Without Mormon Stories, very simply I would have left. “
- “As an instructor in the Elder’s Quorum during the ‘Presidents of the Church’ years, my study of church history and doctrine went far deeper than it had before and I began to discover facts about the church that I had never before heard or been taught as a life-long member, returned missionary, and Hugh Nibley fan. I struggled alone with these issues for five plus years feeling as though I had been lied to all my life, but fearing the retribution of the church and my family, not knowing where to turn. It wasn’t until I found Mormon Stories that I was able to see that there were others like me that knew far more about history and doctrine than I did and were able to stay in the church. I needed more information from safe sources, I needed a way to reframe my life up until that point if I was going to be able to stay in the church, and I needed a support community of like-minded people. I 100% attribute my staying in the church to people that I discovered through Mormon Stories. I am now an active member, a tithe payer, and my temple-sealed wife and I are raising our two lovely daughters in the church.”
- “Mormon Stories has been a boon for me in the church. I’m an active, believing member, I have two callings (plus being a home teacher, which I love doing), and I love my ward. The stories I’ve come across through MS are by turns fascinating, exciting, sad, intriguing, thought-provoking, and faith-building. Some of the people I’ve listened to I disagreed with very much, but it didn’t lessen my respect for their voices and I feel that I’ve come to understand them as children of God much better; other stories felt like they were my own as I nodded my head the whole interview. And ultimately, the people I’ve come to know through MS have been a great blessing in my life. They are wonderful people, every single one, and I’m grateful to have gotten to know them in a way that they (and I!) can be authentic and sincere. MS has been a huge net positive in this believing Mormon’s life!”
- “Dear Stake President: The Gospel of Jesus Christ has always been the center of my life. I have taken the responsibility and stewardship of raising my (now adult) children in the Church very seriously. I have four incredible children, all married in the temple, both sons served missions etc…A little over a year ago our oldest son who had always been obedient, and faithful, who’s life quest was searching for “Truth” in all things in the Gospel, shared with us about what for him was almost a total deconstruction of his faith. Hard to explain in a short time. I am not here to share his journey, but my own as a mother. It was a dark and fearful time for me. Nothing in my life in the Church prepared me for this. I could not have been more devastated, honestly! I began to reach out to anyone who could help me find my footing as my heart was breaking… My experience was that when I turned to the Church for help and support, and peace what I actually felt was judgment and very little hope. I know this son of mine to be honestly one of the best and most Christ like in his living of anyone I know. And I could not accept feeling that he was lost to Satan. I do not believe that is the case here at all. When I found, through “google” Mormon Stories, I found a whole group of people who helped me begin to understand what my son had gone through, and feel more sensitive to how difficulty and often depressing this faith crisis can be in people’s lives. My son described it best when he said it felt like loosing a loved one. Unbelievable grief…My heart began to turn to the experience of my Son, and how I could help love, and support he and his beautiful little family through this difficult journey. These are difficult and sensitive issues, and for people that experience it, there is NO PLACE within the framework of the Church to discuss or seek advice, counsel, or simply share with others what you are going through, where one can be assured of understanding and support. I am so grateful, seriously so, so grateful for all of the loving and understanding people in the Mormon Stories groups that help others like me find a safe place to gain understanding and love. Signed, Utah Valley Mother, Grateful for Mormon Stories.”
- “My name is Tiffany. Mormon Stories has literally kept me in the church because it’s created a space where other people who have also dared to grapple with the complexities and incongruencies have a voice. Many of the voices represented on Mormon Stories come from active members who greatly value their membership but also feel the need to discuss the hard things that are present. When intellectuals, feminists and homosexuals are all told they are enemies to the church and you identify with one or more of those groups, it can be a tough place to be. Mormon Stories gave me the courage to trust my own personal revelation. I know my heart. I know my intention. I love so much about LDS theology and the elevated status it gives mankind. There are so many things doctrinally that resonate in my soul. I’ve needed Mormon Stories to help remind me of the good things, the best things, because there is a lot of not so nice stuff mixed in with Mormonism and to pretend otherwise seems disengenuous to me. People should not be punished for using their God given intellect to grapple with existence. It should be applauded. “
- “The Mormon Stories community is so reassuring. It’s evidence that there may be a place for people like me, who have a hard time believing in a lot of the church’s teachings but still want to be a part of the community and be uplifted by the positive messages the church has to offer. Before Mormon Stories, I felt like an outcast, and felt like my decision would be black and white: I could be Mormon or I could cut all ties to the church. Neither decision felt good. After participating in the community, however, I feel like maybe I can have a place within the church even if I struggle sometimes.”
- “I’m a thinking member of the LDS Church with my Temple Recommend in hand. Mormon Stories Podcasts have helped my testimony by recognizing that there are other members of the Church that struggle with the same issues I do, be it Church history, issues on Polygamy, Blacks in the priesthood or any number of other issues where the Church has not made it clear what it’s stand is.”
- “My name is Kate Kelly. I am an active Mormon woman who served a full-time mission in Spain, graduated from BYU and now serve in the Vienna Ward nursery in Vienna, VA. (That’s how you know I’m dedicated!) I have listened to a myriad of Podcasts on the Mormon Stories website that touch a whole range of interesting and important issues. I listen to them. I discuss them with my husband and family. I share them with others who are facing issues and might be comforted by them, for example the excellent podcast on postpartum depression by Natasha Helfer Parker and “Sarah” an LDS mother. As someone who has a very inquisitive mind, but a faithful heart, it is imperative for me to openly discuss issues and questions I have and have candid resources that I can turn to that are not “anti-Mormon.” This is what Mormon Stories is. Mormon Stories is a warm and welcoming place where we can all discuss and grow together.”