Faith Transitions.com (FT.com) is maintained by individuals who have gone through faith transitions of their own. FT.com discussions are not intended to trace the history of any religious movement as either progressive or conservative, willing to engage in dialogue with the doubter (both public and private doubt). However, we recognize that the ideological orientation of any system of belief as either open or closed to doubt/questioning impacts its members and how they process their lived experience with faith. This area of tension is central to what motivates the stories shared on this website.
This website is not limited to a particular faith tradition and we welcome and encourage people from other traditions that fall outside of the Mormon experience to join our dialogue. We hope to create and foster a safe community for people who are actively grappling with transitions related to their faith and doubt from all traditions of belief.
This website is not limited to positive or negative experiences with faith and we welcome stories that have gone in any number of directions including, but not limited to, belief to non-belief (including atheism) or non-belief to belief, or a restructuring of belief, et cetera. We feel this is an important and substantive difference from other projects that are unidirectional in their transition narratives (e.g., Mormon Transitions).
The Golden Rule: We require all participants at FT.com to maintain a dialogue of respect. You will never be “moderated” for disagreeing with others, but individuals will be warned and even removed if negative ad hominem comments are shared or posted. Respectful disagreement is expected and to a degree encouraged, but please help us maintain a safe space for the varied viewpoints expressed within the FT.com community.
FT.com follows the idea that faith, like many of the complex aspects of human life, changes over the life-course. People change, going through stages of development. This includes faith.
- Stage 0 – “Primal or Undifferentiated” faith (birth to 2 years), is characterized by an early learning of the safety of their environment (i.e. warm, safe and secure vs. hurt, neglect and abuse). If consistent nurture is experienced, one will develop a sense of trust and safety about the universe and the divine. Conversely, negative experiences will cause one to develop distrust with the universe and the divine. Transition to the next stage begins with integration of thought and languages which facilitates the use of symbols in speech and play.
- Stage 1 – “Intuitive-Projective” faith (ages of three to seven), is characterized by the psyche’s unprotected exposure to the Unconscious, and marked by a relative fluidity of thought patterns. Religion is learned mainly through experiences, stories, images, and the people that one comes in contact with.
- Stage 2 – “Mythic-Literal” faith (mostly in school children), stage two persons have a strong belief in the justice and reciprocity of the universe, and their deities are almost always anthropomorphic. During this time metaphors and symbolic language are often misunderstood and are taken literally.
- Stage 3 – “Synthetic-Conventional” faith (arising in adolescence; aged 12 to adulthood) characterized by conformity to religious authority and the development of a personal identity. Any conflicts with one’s beliefs are ignored at this stage due to the fear of threat from inconsistencies.
- Stage 4 – “Individuative-Reflective” faith (usually mid-twenties to late thirties) a stage of angst and struggle. The individual takes personal responsibility for his or her beliefs and feelings. As one is able to reflect on one’s own beliefs, there is an openness to a new complexity of faith, but this also increases the awareness of conflicts in one’s belief.
- Stage 5 – “Conjunctive” faith (mid-life crisis) acknowledges paradox and transcendence relating reality behind the symbols of inherited systems. The individual resolves conflicts from previous stages by a complex understanding of a multidimensional, interdependent “truth” that cannot be explained by any particular statement.
- Stage 6 – “Universalizing” faith, or what some might call “enlightenment.” The individual would treat any person with compassion as he or she views people as from a universal community, and should be treated with universal principles of love and justice.