Faith Crisis: Presentation and Resources

What is faith crisis?

What are some possible responses to the experience?

What are some healthy ways of reframing faith crisis?

Is a positive outcome possible?

What are some helpful resources for people in faith crisis?

In this presentation, we cover these questions and more. And if you would like personal help working through faith crisis, we’re happy to link you with people who can help! Just send a note using the feedback form.

Slides available for viewing and download:

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Critical Thinking: a Primer for Latter-day Saints

Is critical thinking destructive to faith?

How can we fortify our own thinking skills and learn to spot errors in common criticisms of our faith?

This presentation offers a simple primer on critical thinking; slides are available for viewing and download here:

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Presentation on Belonging

Why do we sometimes feel like we don’t belong?

Who is responsible for belonging?

What are things that individuals and institutions do that decrease people’s sense of belonging?

What are reasonable expectations for ourselves and others?

These are discussion points in our presentation on belonging, based on Ben Pacini’s briefing to BYU-I faculty. Slides, discussion, and resources below.

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Changing the Church

Does the church need to change?

Yes. the church has changed a lot over the years, and will continue to evolve into the future.

But what specifically needs to change, and why? And what are good and not-so-good ways for members to think about change in the church? What do we as human beings bring to the equation?

Below are the presentation, our discussion of the slides, and some of the resources cited in the presentation.

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On Informed Consent

I consented to be baptized a Latter-day Saint at the age of 8, and my basic understanding was that everyone was doing it, so I may as well too. Plus, a girl I had a crush on was baptized, so I didn’t want to feel left out of that club.

There are a lot of things I was not informed about when I gave my consent at the age of 8, and I’ll offer a list of some of them here.

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Learning to think…about faith

If we are serious about learning, we need to be mindful of our reasoning. It’s a process that adds a lot of work to all of our learning, but it’s absolutely essential if we want the best possible outcomes in our learning process.

When evaluating the truthfulness of a particular claim, we need to understand some basic rules of inference in order to sidestep fallacies that muddle our thinking. It’s common for those without this kind of training to focus exclusively on whether or not a particular claim is factual and disregard whether that claim logically supports the conclusion being drawn.

If you have never studied logic, here is a brief primer on some basic concepts (thanks to Meagan Kohler for her assistance!). Or, you can skip down to some concrete examples for Latter-day Saints.

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What does it mean that the church is true?

Is the church “true?” I believe so, and that question matters a great deal to me. Why? Well, for starters, I pay 10% of my income to this institution, and devote a lot of time and energy to it. I have no interest in doing all of that just for the sake of belonging to a community (I can join or form any number of communities) or out of a sense of heritage, or any fear-based reasons, like “how else would I raise my kids?!!” There are a number of belief communities that I have belonged to throughout my life that I no longer belong to, because I no longer hold the beliefs that stand at the center of each of those communities’ existence.
But how does one even go about deciding whether the church is true? There are a number of questions that inform our views of whether “the church is true” or not, and below are the questions I personally use for arriving at my answer. If you haven’t gone through the exercise of writing down a list like this, I highly recommend it as a way of bringing clarity to your seeking. My list:

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We’re all biased. Let’s explore how.

We all have biases of different kinds. Below is a collection of typical biases, many of which are useful in discussions of faith.

Adapted from a full list of cognitive biases at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases

Anchoring or focalism The tendency to rely too heavily, or “anchor”, on one trait or piece of information when making decisions (usually the first piece of information acquired on that subject).

Attribute substitution Occurs when a judgment has to be made (of a target attribute) that is computationally complex, and instead a more easily calculated heuristic attribute is substituted. This substitution is thought of as taking place in the automatic intuitive judgment system, rather than the more self-aware reflective system.

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