What if your answer to prayer is against Church teachings?

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MadamCurie
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Re: What if your answer to prayer is against Church teachings?

Post by MadamCurie » 30 Sep 2009, 13:23

bridget_night wrote:I do believe in personal revelation but have sometimes gotten inspiration that is against church teachings. Not as bad as Nephi who was told to kill Laban, but other things in my life. I have had people tell me that God would never tell you anything against church teachings but I have definitely experienced that and when I followed the prompting it turned out for the good. What are your thoughts on this?
Bridget, you have described the story of my life and of my disaffection with the Church.

For me, I ultimately take any personal revelation received to be more important than what I hear over the pulpit. I think that relationship with God - and understanding what he wants for each of us personally - is a spiritual growth that has to happen despite or in spite of any of the good teachings of the Church. I will agree with others, though, that its important for me personally not to see my own personal revelation as more than personal.

It reminds me of something Ray says frequently on here (forgive me, Ray, if I paraphrase), that he wouldn't blame homosexuals for leaving the church over their sexual orientation. That is clearly a choice that the church would disagree with, but there is no reason for you or I to say that God would or wouldn't. I think the same thing applies when we are talking about any such situation where what the church teaches and what God teaches us individually are at odds.

I guess I would also say that it also matters when we are talking about a Church law versus a law of the land. I don't know that I would condone embezzlement, for example :D

musiclady
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Re: What if your answer to prayer is against Church teachings?

Post by musiclady » 11 Oct 2009, 14:05

I have been struggling with this issue too, which in big part has led me to the trouble I'm having with my testimony. I feel I need a divorce. I pray about it and have for 17 years, and I really believe divorce is what's best for me. But everything in the church teachings tells me I shouldn't divorce. I'm being selfish, I'm tearing my family apart, I'm going against the doctrine and breaking covenants. Maybe it's because I want to be happy for once? My fear of wanting to adhere to church teachings has kept me married all this time, even though I feel my answer is divorce.

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bridget_night
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Re: What if your answer to prayer is against Church teachings?

Post by bridget_night » 17 Oct 2009, 08:02

Hi musiclady,

No one but God and you can know the individual circumstances in your marriage, so I would go by what inspiration you feel is right for you. Two years ago, I almost got a divorce. Divorce is a very scary undertaking and has lots of ramifications, but sometimes is necessary. After praying about it I had a powerful dream that I believe was from God. He showed me what would happen to my kids, and my husband if I divorced. It showed that both my oldest son and daughter's marriages would end in divorce because of my decision, and that my youngest gay son would never come back to believing in God and my husband would become an alcoholic. So, I stayed and we have worked many things out. Since then, my daughter has told me, "Mom, when you wrote me you were going to leave dad, all the blood drained out of my face, and I knew if you and dad could not make it after so many years, I could not make it. Over and over it was comfirmed to me that I made the right decision. I don't think God intends us to be miserable for years and years in a marriage. My parents stayed together for the kids and were miserable for 45 years. My dad almost left my mom once and when he prayed about it he had a powerful dream where an angel came to him and told him he must not divorce my mom as it was not her fault that she was so messed up after the war. So, sometimes you do have to sacrifice, but other times the dream or spirit may tell you to leave. Follow, your gut feelings. The subconscious mind often tells your heart the right thing to do.

Take care, Bridget

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allquieton
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Re: What if your answer to prayer is against Church teachings?

Post by allquieton » 22 Nov 2009, 18:35

With the Nephi/Laban story, you seem to be saying that the scriptures do not agree with what people are telling you. That's an easy one for me. I go with the scriptures--every time.

When I experience a situation like this, I also make sure to search my heart, and search my motives. I ask myself, Am I being deceived? Am I trying to justify some sin of mine? I pray to God that I will not be led astray, and if everything still looks right and feels right, I go ahead with it.
INTP

Poppyseed
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Re: What if your answer to prayer is against Church teachings?

Post by Poppyseed » 23 Nov 2009, 16:15

musiclady wrote:I have been struggling with this issue too, which in big part has led me to the trouble I'm having with my testimony. I feel I need a divorce. I pray about it and have for 17 years, and I really believe divorce is what's best for me. But everything in the church teachings tells me I shouldn't divorce. I'm being selfish, I'm tearing my family apart, I'm going against the doctrine and breaking covenants. Maybe it's because I want to be happy for once? My fear of wanting to adhere to church teachings has kept me married all this time, even though I feel my answer is divorce.
Hi Musiclady.

I guess maybe I want to challenge the assumption that divorce = sin. I actually don't think the church is completely against divorce. No bishops aren't going to tell a person to divorce unless there is extreme abuse or some other such extreme. But we live in an imperfect world. Kids get married too fast sometimes. Maybe its ok to start over. It really does have to be between you and the Lord. He can see the future. He can see your needs and your losses.

I prayed about divorce too. And much of my early struggles were because I was reading God's mind and assuming I new that the thought of divorce was obviously wrong. I learned differently as I tried to move forward in self trust as I combined that to my faith in God. I got a variety of answers that I didn't expect. Most of them, I was surprised to hear, were throwing questions back at me about what I wanted to do or how I wanted to solve the problems. The answers were not dictations. Rather I felt God working together with me and the scriptures and the words of the prophets on the subject. He gave me encouragement and at one point I felt he would support whatever decision I made. And I was sealed in the temple. It takes courage to combine agency and faith together. But I really really believe God supports and guides us as we move forward in the driver seats of our lives.

I am not saying that you should divorce or not. What I am saying is that perhaps there are more answers available to you besides yes or no.
“Be not afraid of growing slowly; be afraid only of standing still.” --old Chinese proverb

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Cadence
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Re: What if your answer to prayer is against Church teachings?

Post by Cadence » 15 Dec 2009, 22:00

My brother tells an interesting story from his mission from back in the 60's.

One day during a zone conference a youngish apostle named Gordon B. Hinckley was visiting the mission and as custom let the Elders ask questions. My brother being the unorthodox man that he is posed the question "What do you do if you are told to do something by your leaders that you know to be wrong?" His answer after some thought was "you had better make sure you are right"

Not your standard jump of a cliff if you are told to answer that I got 20 years later on my mission.
Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction--faith in fiction is a damnable false hope. Thomas A. Edison

“The good thing about science is that it's true whether or not you believe in it.” Neil deGrasse Tyson

jbelli21
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Re: What if your answer to prayer is against Church teachings?

Post by jbelli21 » 28 Jan 2010, 15:49

This question brings up a lot in my mind. There is a recent youtube video of a man who is standing outside the SLC temple dressed in his complete temple outfit. He says that he's doing it cause God told him to and doesn't really know any other reason. Why must everything be so subjective? Is that necessarily a bad thing? I don't know. I wish their was a sure-proof, objective way of finding spiritual truths but there isn't always one. I'm sure God could tell us all to do something that's maybe against official church standards because a lot of the standards in my mind are just generalities made by people with a lot of experience not necessarily divine mandates, but I don't think that God would tell us to do something that is against an eternal principle

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Rix
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Re: What if your answer to prayer is against Church teachings?

Post by Rix » 28 Jan 2010, 16:39

jbelli21 wrote:This question brings up a lot in my mind... but I don't think that God would tell us to do something that is against an eternal principle
So what IS an eternal principle? The way I look at it, everything is open to challenge. What is "a sure thing" to most Mormons is questionable to me. Even the way I have interpreted many things in my life previously I now look at as questionable. So I think when you approach "principles" that way it becomes a question that is quite subjective...and I think each one of us must answer for ourselves individually. When you transition to accepting ourselves as equally "authoritative" as the next guy, it all makes sense.

Good luck!

:D
Überzeugungen sind oft die gefährlichsten Feinde der Wahrheit.
[Certainty (that one is correct) is often the most dangerous enemy of the
truth.] - Friedrich Nietzsche

God is a metaphor for that which transcends all levels of intellectual thought. It's as simple as that. -- Joseph Campbell

jbelli21
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Re: What if your answer to prayer is against Church teachings?

Post by jbelli21 » 28 Jan 2010, 16:48

Rix, I think that's exactly what I was trying to say. I do believe that there are objective factual eternal principles, obviously no one knows them all except God and he is the one who wouldn't tell us to do anything against those. Of course I'm also assuming that God is real and omniscient. But you're right, because we all see through the glass darkly many of our core beliefs are subjective and could possibly even be wrong. It's through trial and error that we learn for ourselves which are true and which aren't which could result in different conclusions from one person to the next. I was just lamenting over the fact that I have to learn them that way instead of a full-proof method that wouldn't cause pain and sorrow, but that's a part of life.

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bridget_night
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Re: What if your answer to prayer is against Church teachings?

Post by bridget_night » 28 Jan 2010, 20:08

Some years ago a good friend of mine who is gay wrote me this email that he said I could share which illustrates a good example of how God can answers us individually and might go against church teachings. Here is his abbreviated story. Tell me what you think?

I started a long version of my personal story until my computer froze up. Let me offer this shorter version.



I have always been a spiritual being. My spiritual relationship with God has richened as it has developed over time. It has helped me as a missionary and in many leadership positions in the church from Seminary Teacher to Bishop.



I have a strong testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon. I even believe that GBH (Gordon B. Hinckley) was called to be a prophet. My faithfulness to the church is witnessed by my desire to walk a mile to church every Sunday at 16 years old rather than follow my family into inactivity.



Even in the face of falling into sexual relations with one of my missionary companions, I wouldn't admit that I was gay. My Mom wanted me to get therapy, I refused since I knew they would tell me to accept it.



I got married to fulfill the requirement to be sealed in the Temple. Shortly after our first daughter was born, I finally admitted to myself that I was gay. Regardless, it didn't change anything. I was still a committed faithful husband and father. Eventually the lack of affection and romantic love that my wife was incapable of giving to me led me to seek that affection elsewhere.



I struggled with my lack of faithfulness. I sought help from God.. It seemed to come and go in waves. I figured I was probably slacking off when things got bad. Eventually, I sought to be released as Elders Quorum President, not because I couldn't do my job but because I didn't think I should. This time in my life brought some of the most powerful spiritual experiences and I felt the power of the keys that I held. It baffled me how I could be propped up by God in the face of my sinful state. I eventually moved because my Bishop would not release me.



Moving didn't make it better. I was then called to be the Bishop in our new ward. I was blown away. How could the Lord inspire such a calling to someone who was so sinful. In prayer God confirmed that I needed to accept the calling. I felt the mantle of leadership fall upon me and cherish the spirit that attended me in that calling. Meanwhile I had no less struggle with seeking affection from men than I had previously. Regardless, I had even greater capacity to help others. I rationalized that one of the reasons that I was in this calling was to help the numerous youth and adults that sought help regarding sexual situations. I figured I could relate and help them more than someone else could and as I mentioned before assist several youth in dealing with SSA (damn I hate that term).



During this time, My second daughter was born with extensive medical problems. The first two years of her life were filled with hospital and doctors visits. She had to be on oxygen full-time and we struggled to make her better. Eventually the only way we could help her lungs was to move back to sea level. I had almost finished my 3 years as Bishop and had started my own business so the move was easy for us to make.



At this time, I decided to make every effort to divorce myself from my sexual plague. I prayed several times a day averaging 60 minutes a day, I read the scriptures for another 60 minutes a day. I spent 4-6 hours a day with the missionaries (since I had been called as ward mission leader). I had greater success in my business and had great success in missionary work but I had absolutely no success in curbing my sexual appetite.



I fell into despair. I plead with God to find out what I could do. Eventually, I gave up everything to know his will. I even opened to the fact that he may have some other calling for me. It took 6 weeks of prayer but I finally received an answer, "I have made you as you are. I love you for who you are and will always love you. Seek to do good to others and learn to love and accept yourself for who you are." I cried like a baby that day. No greater love have I felt than this. All of the "miracles" that I have been able to perform in the lives of others and the great strength the Lord has given me as an instrument in his hands, paled in comparison to the healing in my life with those 3 sentences.



The next day, I told my wife. She found great relief as she was already seeking affection that she was lacking. Though she had not broken our vows, she had committed to leaving me. This relieved her of the guilt she felt in making that decision. It was the greatest "AHA" moment of her life.



Later, I was led by the spirit to resign from the church. In speaking to my Bishop, he raised every objection that I have heard Bridget raise. He even asked if I believed that GBH was the Prophet. I told him that when Pres Hinckley was called as Prophet, the spirit confirmed to me that he was the right man. He asked then how I could act against what the Prophet said. I told him that as a missionary, I taught God's pattern for revealing truth. God calls a Prophet to reveal his truth, he gives it to his people in the spoken or written word. The people are then require to seek spiritual confirmation that what the Prophet says is true. I told him in this instance, God revealed to me that what the prophet said was not true in my life and I could not act against God's will no matter what the Prophet said.



Things have improved since then. I am not burdened by who I am, I am bolstered by it. I have found meaningful loving romantic relationships that I could not find otherwise. I am incredibly blessed by the love of my partner Jeff and how much we both grow from our relationship. My life is so much more meaningful now. I am more successful in my career, in my relationships, in rearing my children, in my spiritual relationship with God. I did not know that there could be this level of happiness in my life. Life is so much more meaningful when you can express the romantic love for another as God intended, especially after going so long without.



I must say that I don't believe that my path is the path for anyone else. But I can and do testify that life is far more meaningful when you follow the will of God. I thought I knew that meant denying who I was and suppressing it. Ultimately, I could only know by asking him.



I personally know nearly a thousand gay Mormons. I can tell you which ones gave up and which of those gave in to God's will. There is a big difference. I always admonish people to follow God's will.



It is possible for God to want some people to try reparative therapy, to deny such would be to deny God. I know that God leads many to accept and develop how he made them and lead lives outside the church that are meaningful and powerful. We are all children of God. Let God direct his children and none else.

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