Joni wrote:I've mentioned before that I've had personal revelation, in the celestial room of the temple, that God doesn't love me. (It's okay that you don't believe me. My husband doesn't believe me, either. But I know what I experienced and I can't deny it.)
I find that I simply can't pray anymore. I have nothing more to say to Him. It feels a lot like prayer is how we tell God what He should take away from us next. (For the last several years, my children's prayers have also included the phrase 'please bless that our house won't catch fire.' I fully expect that God will burn our house down any day now, just to teach me a lesson.)
This also puts all of the Church's many many demands into perspective. They don't come out and say it, but it's at least IMPLIED that if you pay tithing/wear ugly underwear/serve in callings whether you like it or not/sit through boring meeting after boring , God will at least like you better than if you DON'T do those things. But I've found that there is nothing I can do to earn the least bit of favor in His eyes, so what the heck is my motivation for doing all these things?
I am so sorry you're dealing with this. How insanely stressful. I can absolutely relate to the feeling of certainty about an experience that seems to contradict what the Gospel teaches, and having people disbelieve and discredit it. I believe you that you did have the revelation you say you had, and I think you're doing the right thing by being honest and not denying your experience.
I think you're perfectly justified in not praying for as long as you want or need. When you say it feels like prayer is how you tell God what He should take away from us next, it reminds me of the "Law of Attraction" that I have heard some people talk about. Have you heard of this? There was a movie called "The Secret." It is kind of like a religion. I have no idea if there's any legitimacy to it, but I kind of tend to give everything the benefit of the doubt unless I know for sure it's garbage. One of the aspects of it is that you presumably shouldn't state the things you want in the negative, like, "Bless our house not to burn down," or "Bless my husband not to lose his job." Instead you should say, "Bless our house to be strong and safe," and, "Bless my husband's employment status to remain stable," or something along those lines. Again, I'm just throwing it out there as something to potentially try if you ever feel like praying again. I'm not saying you've been praying wrong all this time, or that if you'd prayed differently that all the horrible stuff wouldn't happen. I have NO IDEA if there's anything to that Law of Attraction stuff.
Significant medical issues were the thing that threw me into a faith crisis, and I felt the same as you're feeling about commitments the Church asks us to make: garments, tithing, callings. It was very much like, "Why am I doing all of this, devoting energy I don't have, making myself sicker, so that you can NOT help me heal or even show any evidence that you are THERE AT ALL?" So I stopped. I don't wear my garments. My temple recommend is expired. We don't pay tithing to the church anymore. We were paying it to various charitable causes and friends and family who were in need, and now we're just paying off the $31,000 loan we had to take out for my brain surgery four months ago and not tithing at all. But I feel 100% okay...at peace... I don't have any nagging feeling like I really should be paying tithing to the Church, or I really should wear my garments again, even though I'm very guilt-prone usually. On the other hand, I also don't have any feeling that I'll NEVER pay tithing or wear garments again. I strongly believe that what is right for one person at one time in her life may or may not be what's right for another person or for the same person six months or six years later. I think it's okay to let that stuff go. Of course, things become more complicated when your significant other wants to keep doing all of it while you do not. That presents its own extra challenge.
I wonder if the implication that by doing x, y, and z, you will receive certain blessings isn't partly a result of a Gospel culture that attributes anything good that happens to God and anything bad that happens to various sources other than God. I wonder if the more Jewish tradition of readily attributing both good and
bad things that happen to God wouldn't be healthier for us to adopt. I wonder if that wouldn't help us to stop acting like being more righteous makes people less likely to be unemployed, less likely to have our houses burn down, etc. Because it's damaging, you know? It sets people up to believe that it's their own fault somehow when things go badly, when they're innocent. It sets people up to judge others for whom things go badly: "Oh, well, he keeps losing his job because of x thing he did wrong, or y thing he failed to do..." Maybe the moody, erratic, impulsive, but still very personal God of the Old Testament isn't such a bad one to believe in, after all?! Sometimes he's just in a horrible mood and He lets it out on whomever happens to be around, just like if I'm stressed or in a bad mood I might snap at one of my kids for doing basically nothing.
I'm sorry my reply is so long. I just hope you know you're not alone in what you're feeling right now. I get it. And I'm so sorry you're going through this.