I can't anymore. I'm done with God.

Public forum for those seeking support for their experience in the LDS Church.
Ann
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Re: I can't anymore. I'm done with God.

Post by Ann » 03 Mar 2017, 19:16

Joni - I'm really sorry. I wish I had anything better to say and more I could do to really help. Especially coming from the conviction that God doesn't love you at all, it's hard to know.... All I can say about a temple experience like that is that I've had one in my whole life and it went sideways. I've had to consider that I got my wires completely crossed in that celestial room.
Reuben wrote:I sometimes miss believing there's a being out there that cares for me. I do think it's possible, but I can't bring myself to worship it or devote myself to it. If it exists and is intervening in my life, it's guiding me toward more love, respect and understanding, and away from believing in universal formulas that crush as easily as they lift..
Fighting a war, running a county, making medical protocols, etc., organizations play the odds and weigh risks and benefits. The sad thing for me is to see that the church does it, too. And whenever I sense that's what's going on, I'm not on board. It's a lot of the time. We hold up success stories, happy endings, and we really don't want to see the rest. I think about 90% of what we talk about at church should go in the current wisdom/best practices/prosperity gospel pile, leaving very little for the eternal truth pile.

Joni, I hope we can be a support to you now.
"Preachers err by trying to talk people into belief; better they reveal the radiance of their own discovery." - Joseph Campbell

"The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." - Marcel Proust

"Therefore they said unto him, How were thine eyes opened? He answered and said unto them, A man that is called Jesus made clay, and anointed my eyes...." - John 9:10-11

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Always Thinking
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Re: I can't anymore. I'm done with God.

Post by Always Thinking » 03 Mar 2017, 19:45

I have had a strong answer to a prayer in the temple that was wrong, in that I felt strongly that two specific things would happen by two specific dates, and they both didn't happen. So just wanted to add that from my own experience, even strong prayer answers in the temple can be wrong. However, I know that since you experienced it, and you've had a lot of things go wrong too, that for you it is real that God hates you. And I am so sorry. I can't even imagine what that is like. I hope someday you will be able to find some form of peace, but for now, we are all here for you and thinking of you.

squarepeg
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Re: I can't anymore. I'm done with God.

Post by squarepeg » 03 Mar 2017, 20:46

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.

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LookingHard
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Re: I can't anymore. I'm done with God.

Post by LookingHard » 04 Mar 2017, 10:59

My heart goes out to you Joni. I could go into some details, but Reuben's comments are fairly close to mine.

I too no longer pray (except in family prayer/meal time prayer). I have gotten to where I can express feelings and desires and not get upset about having to say a prayer.

But personally I gave up over 5 years ago. I prayed basically for 30 years for an issue in my life, including "please just change ME so this isn't an issue" and the last 7 years of "I don't even know what to pray about" prayers. Never once did I feel any response. I generally felt it was a problem with me, but once friends were getting old enough to die it made me think, "why wouldn't God help me in any way for the majority of my life?" It was what really primed my shelf to break once I came into contact with the critical Mormon groups that ask the tough questions and I immediately thought "YES YES - that is a good question..."

I hope this does not come between you and your husband and I certainly hope your husband it able to return to work soon. I can tell you it isn't "just him". I am so tired of the hire/layoff cycle in my industry. Zero loyalty from the company to good employees. The only ones that are SOMEWHAT safe are those that are climbing the ladder.

Joni
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Re: I can't anymore. I'm done with God.

Post by Joni » 04 Mar 2017, 15:47

At some point, I will be willing to pray again, specifically to ask God how to appease Him. I feel like there has got to be some sacrifice large and horrible enough that I can get on His good side again. Does he want me to tithe 20 percent? Attend the temple once a week even though I'm deeply troubled by the sexism? Give up sewing (which is both a hobby and a business for me)? Have another baby?

I think, after another few months of unemployment, I'll be ready to give God whatever He wants. But I'm not quite there yet.

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Reuben
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Re: I can't anymore. I'm done with God.

Post by Reuben » 05 Mar 2017, 07:12

The present post is from both Mrs. Reuben and myself.
Joni wrote:At some point, I will be willing to pray again, specifically to ask God how to appease Him. I feel like there has got to be some sacrifice large and horrible enough that I can get on His good side again. Does he want me to tithe 20 percent? Attend the temple once a week even though I'm deeply troubled by the sexism? Give up sewing (which is both a hobby and a business for me)? Have another baby?

I think, after another few months of unemployment, I'll be ready to give God whatever He wants. But I'm not quite there yet.
To be honest, this worries us. We're concerned for your well-being - not so much because you might do something you'll regret or is destructive (though there's a small chance), but because your words suggest that you're absolutely at the end of your rope.

Unemployment is hard. The thought of not being able to provide for your children is almost unbearable. You're under an awful lot of stress. You need someone to talk to who can help you through it. Mrs. Reuben has found visiting a counselor to be very helpful when she's at the end of her rope. Can you talk to your bishop about getting some help through LDS Social Services?
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Love before dogma. Truth before loyalty. Knowledge before sanctity or certainty.

amateurparent
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Re: I can't anymore. I'm done with God.

Post by amateurparent » 05 Mar 2017, 08:31

Joni:

((( hug )))

I am so sorry for your husband's loss of employment.

There was a time when I tried to sacrifice for God. God had taken my children's lives, my husband's employment, all of our carefully saved investments, and my identity as a mother.

I thought long and hard about what I could sacrifice in order to get God's attention, favor, and good will.

So much was put on that alter. My time, my talents, my tithes, my hopes and dreams were all carefully and artfully arranged onto that alter to God. I stood back and waited for Him to accept all that I put there. I was so afraid that I wildly looked around for anything else that I could add to the stack. Surely there had to be more than I could put on the alter. I added promises for better Family Home Evenings. Promissory notes for deeper scripture readings and memorization were piled up.

The alter was amazing to behold and nothing in my life changed.

All I learned was that God doesn't like alters.

Horrible birth defects. Chronic pain. Loss of employment. Houses that do burn down. These things have nothing to do with God. Too often, God gets credit for all of the goodness in life and doesn't get blamed for any of the bad. I'm not sure what God is in charge of. I haven't figured it out yet.

What I do know: Nothing in my life is different whether I pay tithing or not. Nothing in our health has gotten better or worse whether I am active in prayer and/or church.

The ability to pray to a higher power makes me more centered in my life. The ability to forgive someone who has wronged me makes me a better person. A culture and society that focuses on forgiveness as part of a societal norm is a safer place for all. Tithing helps a church function, but not God.

Get help from the church. Use the resources available to you, but don't build an alter and don't look for ways to sacrifice. That doesn't work on any level.
I have no advance degrees in parenting. No national credentials. I am an amateur parent. I read, study, and learn all I can to be the best parent possible. Every time I think I have reached expert status with one child for one stage in their life, something changes and I am back to amateur status again. Now when I really mess up, I just apologize to my child, and explain that I am indeed an amateur .. I'm still learning how to do this right.

Ray DeGraw
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Re: I can't anymore. I'm done with God.

Post by Ray DeGraw » 05 Mar 2017, 13:55

My favorite interpretation of Abraham being commanded to sacrifice Isaac is that he **failed** that test - that God wanted to see if he had let go completely of his ancestors' practice of sacrificing their children to their gods. In this interpretation, God wanted Abraham to stop, say, "Whoa, wait a minute," and push back. He didn't. He still was fixated on making the ultimate sacrifice.

Have you seen a professional therapist in the past? I can't remember if you have shared that here. Either way, I encourage you to do so. I think you need to work through your issues in person with someone who is trained in doing so. We love you and can try to support you, but we can't provide that sort of help. There is NO shame in it; it isn't part of finding comfort and understanding from someone who is trained in how to provide it.

You are in my prayers.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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SilentDawning
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Re: I can't anymore. I'm done with God.

Post by SilentDawning » 05 Mar 2017, 15:30

I agree with a lot that Amateur Parent said.

I find making sacrifices for things that bring me happiness, however, is worthwhile. But I don't do it on the strength of promises made by people who have no stake in making the sacrifice, or who live in the same fog we do (and that's most members).

So, I make sacrifices to get an education, sacrifices to help others get the skills they need to find employment. When I was asked to take callings, I was asked to be a SS President. It was presented as making sure each class had a teacher, and making adjustments etcetera. I knew that would not make me happy. To be thrown in the midst of people who don't show commitment (ie don't show up for their class), and have to make split second adjustments to enable and compensate for such inattention, was just not something that would make me happy. But when they asked me to lead a council on how to help improve the teaching quality, THAT was something I could sacrifice for, and be happy.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- SD

"Stage 5 is where you no longer believe the gospel as its literally or traditionally taught. Nonetheless, you find your own way to be active and at peace within it". -- SD

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. No price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself."

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Roy
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Re: I can't anymore. I'm done with God.

Post by Roy » 07 Mar 2017, 11:18

I am so sorry for your loss Joni. I have lost a job and it definitely put a cloud over me for the length of my unemployment. I would like to think that I could enjoy spending more time with the kids or completing tasks around the house. Unfortunately, that was not the case. My very presence in the house seemed to be a mark of failure.

I see the personal experiences shared in this thread and I am reminded ever so powerfully that life does not go according to plan. I feel a kinship to this isle of misfit toys and the paths that bring us here.

I too, sit with you.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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