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Re: This story really touched me

Posted: 20 Aug 2014, 18:13
by DarkJedi
Yeah, Ray, I only rant and rail here. I do understand that some people need this kind of magic and perceive it as real, but it's inherently dangerous and I wish they wouldn't. If only they could see both the potential and real danger to others. I think stories like this do that.

Re: This story really touched me

Posted: 20 Aug 2014, 18:20
by Curt Sunshine

Re: This story really touched me

Posted: 21 Aug 2014, 10:20
by DarkJedi
OK, so now that we have established that indeed some people need to believe in these types of miracles (or I prefer magic, no disrespect intended) but that this belief can be and often is dangerous in the long run, where is the balance? What is the difference in recognizing or believing in God's blessings and preaching about miracles that won't happen for most? In the context of this article, if this boy had never been taught or believed prayers would be answered, he may still be a believer - that was the crux of his entire crisis of faith as it is for many others.

From my own perspective I have a very hard time believing all that we have really comes from God in the form of blessings. I live in a small town of about 350 people - there is an active retired LDS couple that lives here and a hardcore inactive older lady. Everybody else are either members of other churches (mostly Methodist, Baptist, and Church of the Nazarene) or not religious. We all pretty much seem to have the same blessings - we own our homes, we all seem to have enough food to eat, etc. Some people obviously have more possessions and money than others, yet none of us are in abject poverty. I do not feel as though God blesses me any more or less than any of the neighbors on my street (none of whom are the above mentioned members) - which would lead me to believe he doesn't really bless us at all. That is, we all have or did have jobs that we retired from and all of our needs are met - even the atheist next door (who owns a successful small business). When neighboring communities were hard hit by flooding our village was spared by our levy. Likewise, if there were someone in abject poverty I believe they would remain so unless other humans intervened. I'm not trying to say that God doesn't bless us and I do believe that blessings may be more of a spiritual and non-apparent thing - but where is the balance of recognizing God for actual physical blessings and leading people to believe something that is likely not so for most people?

Re: This story really touched me

Posted: 21 Aug 2014, 10:33
by Curt Sunshine
What's the balance? Charity - in all its messiness.

Most people assume charity is clean and pretty, but the description in 1 Corinthians 13 is difficult and painful and messy. Charity is a middle way, which is why there is relatively little of it in its truest sense.

Re: This story really touched me

Posted: 22 Aug 2014, 00:53
by RagDollSallyUT
Wow speak of the devil. This is my story only told through different eyes. This is the primary reason for my FC.

Married to my fist husband, I didn't discover the monster he really was until about 6 months in... after he started his first post- ceremony affair. He apparently was angry at me for "trapping him" into a life he decided he didn't want after all. (There was at least one pre-ceremony affair that I found out about later.) This is when the abuse really started. Verbal, emotional but no physical. I was pretty sure of the affair but I couldn't prove it, and the way I was raised it would have been an eternal sin to leave him unless he hit me or I could prove the affair. It was like he already hit some sort of midlife crises that made him want to act like a teenager again and do anything to get away from the leash he had voluntarily placed upon his own neck but blamed me for. I prayed that he would change. I prayed his eyes would be open. I prayed he would grow up. The wounds were so deep but they were only words and actions without a single punch thrown. Since they were only words I could just get over it right? I went to the bishop- I sought counseling for myself through the LDS channels. I was told to pray harder, be a better example, a better wife and believe in him.

I heard a story from a conference talk that was repeated a few times in my ward back then about a woman who was terribly unhappy in her marriage and on the brink of divorcing her husband. She supposedly went to a counselor (or a lawyer - can't remember now) who issued her a challenge. He said that if she really wanted to hurt him she had to make him know what he was missing, so her assignment was to go home and clean herself up and be the best possible wife she could possibly be. She was to make him dinner, massage his feet- whatever; really throw herself into his service. So she went home and did just that. And to her surprise, he started treating her like a princess and she suddenly discovered he really was the man of her dreams and they were blissfully happy ever after. Even when I heard it I thought that it was awfully one sided to blame the woman like that, but I thought the church and the leaders were smarter and more inspired than me, so I tried it. However, the harder I tried the worse the abuse got, and I just ended up feeling used like a sick puppy. Not so good on the self esteem. But I kept trying. I prayed so hard his heart would be softened and he would see what he was doing and stop. We went to get his patriarchal blessing together and it even said "Cherish you wife. Serve her and love her. If you do this there will be happiness in your home." I thought how significant it wasn't based on my behavior, even though he felt that all my faults were the cause of his abuse. But I kept trying and praying and working on perfecting myself as far as I could, and serving him and loving him even when he was unlovable, and forgiving the unforgivable. It only got worse,

I was at a breaking point once after my second child. I was crying every day as he made up lies to go places he didn't go with who knows what doing who knows what. I went for a priesthood blessing. It very specifically stated that I should not worry that he would corrupt the children because my children were going to be such great leaders in the church that if my husband would not live righteously that he would be replaced so that they could grow up with a righteous example. The Lord would no sooner let him sway those children than he would let a prophet lead astray his church, and if it became necessary he would remove my husband from the planet. And on the same token, if I did not raise my children righteously he would do the same for me. But as I was a TBM doing all the check box stuff, and trying as hard as I could, I didn't worry much about that part. Still life didn't change.

I had spent so many countless hours and days in prayer. One day, as so many others, I went to God in devastation after a fast and told him I just couldn't do it anymore. I had to leave. I got the very distinct impression as though his voice spoke to my soul. "Give him one more chance." I resolved to do so. I waited. Shortly after, we suddenly ended up moving to a new state. He seemed to get better. He was still a mean spirited selfish person, but he since he didn't know anyone in the new state, there were no skirts to chase. Subsequently he seemed like he was less mean to be. Slowly over time he got worse again and I later learned that he in no way stopped seeking affairs, but he was using me, and he was just getting better at hiding what he was doing.

At some point my prayers changed. If he would not soften his heart and love his family, then I begged he would be removed as the blessing had stated. He was not removed. He seemed to be just bad enough to cause so much misery but just good enough God had mercy on him and didn't follow through on his threat. I waited. I prayed. Years passed. My prayers changed. If he would not let his heart be softened, and if he would not remove him from the planet, that God would give me the evidence of the affairs so that I could in clean conscience remove him from my life myself. Or let him hit me. Please God let him hit me. It would actually hurt less and then finally there would be outward evidence to the world of what he was doing and how bad it really was. Years passed. Nothing changed.

From time to time I would go to priesthood leaders for help and advice, I was always admonished to give him more chances. To stay. When things would get really bad and it would be to the point of me leaving, he would put on a super repentant act about how much he really loved me more than the sun and the moon and the stars and would do anything to fix it even go to counseling and I could name my price. Said he just took me for granted and he was wrong. I believed him the first couple of times. Gave him way too many chances. Then I didn't anymore. I had built a business in which he had no hand- the sort of rags to riches story that you hear of basement start ups. I had to. He never provided enough to get away from government help completely. I did very well. Until he figured out how much money I had. Then he couldn't stop stealing it and spending it even after I tool his name off of all that I had. My business was being turned inside out. All that I slaved over crashing all around me. That was the last straw. I filed for divorce. That's when he ran to the Bishop and had him gang up on me and tell me I owed it to God and my kids to give him one last chance. The bishop very specifically told me that if I left at that point I would screw up my kids for eternity etc. My faith was used against me. So I gave him one more chance. One more chance was all he needed to embezzle the rest of my business money from me and crash it into irrecoverable ruins. And did the same with my kids. I was finally done and out, I never looked back. The only regret I had was not leaving him sooner before he destroyed most all I had. He actually left me in such ruins that not only did I have to declare bankruptcy and take two jobs just to try to begin to cover the bills that I actually spent almost 2 months homeless. Not on the street- I had to divide my kids between different friends and relatives that would take them and go bounce around on different couches for awhile until finally ending up in public housing in the worst part of the worst town in Utah. That's where the damage to the kids became painfully obvious and I lost my oldest, previously happy, beautiful, innocent children to anxiety and depression and acting out and making terrible choices.

But now I was free to find the righteous example I was promised, and try to save my family. Then came husband number two who finished them off. I won't go into what he did or how I ended up with him. Yes I made a terrible misguided choice but I will just say that I went for help several times. Priesthood leaders, therapists, legal authorities. Everything I did backfired and made things worse. The world I can forgive, but the church was supposed to have the inspiration to help me. Even though the leaders failed me in the past with my first husband, I had faith that this time it would be different. It wasn't. In fact it was worse. The church even alienate and rejected my children. People cross the street id we are outside to walk on the other side so we can't contaminate them. I won't go into why. It's way to ugly.

The problem is that I believed that if I just had enough faith, my prayers would be answered. I was taught that. I was taught to believe in priesthood blessings and leaders. It was what 90% of all talks and testimonies were about. The God of the Lost Keys would surely help me find a way out in some fashion before it was too late to save my kids. Even if he couldn't get in the way of agency, surely there would be a way to preserve me and let everyone still make choices. My prayers became that. Don't take away his agency- just help me find the power to exert mine. Didn't happen.

In the end I questioned everything. If God was not the god that was advertised in sacrament meetings, and if priesthood leaders were really not so inspired, and priesthood blessings often didn't come true, if God really has his hands so tied after all-- then how can the prophets and church leaders run a church where most of what is taught is just that? If they know so much is being twisted than why do they allow it? Obviously they believe it. Just listen to their conference talks. So then how can the church that is based on so many false principles be true? It cannot. Charity is true. Service is true. Being a good person is true. Perfecting oneself is true. Doing what is right when no one is looking is true. Doing what is right because it is right and not because we think we mind get a blessing out of it is true. But what we are taught is not true. At least it was proven untrue for me. So I won't play their games anymore.

Re: This story really touched me

Posted: 22 Aug 2014, 05:06
by DarkJedi
A very touching story, Sally, and I am sorry that you have had to endure this experience.

Not to argue, but I will point out that for the most part our GAs do not talk about the magical God of the lost car keys, especially those in the highest level (the Q15). They do, however, perpetuate some falsities about prayer and answers IMO, and I agree this is bad. When I first came to this forum and before that I would often say that they didn't know what they were talking about because they hadn't had the experiences that some of the rest of us have had. While I don't use that verbiage anymore (because it tends to offend the more orthodox types and stymies discussion), I still believe that. At the same time, I have learned to respect that point of view - and feel bad for them that they haven't had such experiences. As a side note to that point, some of them clearly do understand - Pres. Uchtdorf, for instance.

Re: This story really touched me

Posted: 22 Aug 2014, 16:37
by RagDollSallyUT
Agreed that the first presidency is more careful about what they say and agreed that church doctrine that is actual doctrine/official teaching is not necessarily the fluff that we hear in sacrament meetings and gospel doctrine classes. There are very few things that the prophet actually sets out there and says "this is an official statement." Most of the rest of junk we hear on a regular basis is based on some talk or another of someone we can't even remember and it gets re-told and often distorted and taken out of context. And much of it isn't distorted at all- it gets taught just as so-and-so of the quorum or whatever position stated it, but then it could be argued that he wasn't the actual prophet nor was he speaking for the church nor claiming to give a commandment.

These sound like excuses to me anymore. If a guy says something and it turns out to be crap we can excuse it that way. This way they have plausible deniability. When confronted with church change, which people have a hard time with, (since the gospel is supposed to be the same yesterday, today and for always) or when something just doesn't fit right, the rest of the church can just say, "We never said that. That was just this one guy who said it and it wasn't Gospel." etc. Even though millions of people may have taken those things to heart, and and built there daily lives around them, and generations were brought up with it as part of their yes or no check list. Like the whole caffeine debacle. Don't tell me that wasn't taught as Gospel- it was! Maybe was never meant to be but it sure was! It was crammed down my throat like every other kid in my generation that grew up with it. I can't tell you the guilt I suffered the first time I accidentally drank Coke!

But in my specific instance and the instance that the boy is the article struggled with I think is far more damaging when dealing with our types of problems. We were taught that: 1-God is you personal savior not only to forgive your sons but to keep you safe. 2- He watches your every move and everything happens for a reason. 3-He answers prayers (although there are some excuses that he did but not in the way you expect or whatever *BS.*) Further I was taught: 4-Your priesthood leaders are inspired and you need to follow them at all costs and 5-You don't break up a marriage unless physical abuse or proof of chronic unrepentant adultery is present. 6-Priesthood blessings are real and all you have to do to collect is live righteously and 7-God never gives you anything you can't handle.

Maybe these things were never meant to be doctrine but they sure are taught as if they are, and are accepted as such by the general population of the church. They are things that are false are taught as true. But really can anything be different? We are a church of peer teachers. We call Joe Bob into positions of authority without any actual training of any kind. We call speakers who have no knowledge or authority over anything. Even in the upper echelons of the church there is not much to qualify some of those people being there other than they knew how to play the game and were friends with the right people.

As a church of peer to peer teachers, there is much that is repeated that is wrong. And there are very definite patterns of thinking, and teachings that are accepted as doctrine even if the prophet himself never said "this is doctrine." The thing that peaks my FC is either 1. The prophet knows these things are being taught and knows that 90+% of the followers believe these things, and he knowingly runs this environment that not only allows it, but encourages it. (And he knows the teachings are false); in which case, how can he be a true prophet? Why doesn't he put a stop to it? How couldn't he? Or 2- He also believes these false things; in which case, how can he be a true prophet?

This is all starting to sound like a tactic my husband with Borderline Personality Disorder uses. He can never be wrong, so when he does something, no matter the severity, he must make me doubt my reality. *That's not what he said, that's not what he meant, I am taking everything wrong and blowing it out of proportion.* Like clockwork. I can rehearse the stages before he opens his mouth. I am tired of being told I am crazy and I don't know what was real. I know what was real. I know what the church taught me and I believed it. And they were wrong.

This is a principle that I am tossing in my head about a suicide thread here so I am going to hope over there for a while.

Re: This story really touched me

Posted: 22 Aug 2014, 21:57
by intothelight
I honestly think the truth is that nobody knows. I don't know why God lets things happen the way they do. Why didn't God step in and save you from your abusive husband? Why did God remain quiet when Jews were thrown into human ovens? Why didn't the boy in DarkJedi's story get rescued? I don't know. Maybe there are some people who genuinely know. I tend to think that many if not most of the people who say they understand don't really - either because in your case they don't understand what it means to see your children's sense of worth destroyed or because of an abusive husband - or because they haven't thought about it really deeply. It also could be that the people like us who suffer have done something to deserve it, or are rejecting God's help when he attempts to give it to us.

But for me, I have found that Jesus won't let me hate Him. After a hellish week, I'll feel calm or be helped in some way. Something to keep me going. I guess that is a good sign. There is something about God that I cannot reject. He keeps knocking on my door. I tend to think there is a good reason we'll find out eventually as to why this life is hell - and it isn't hell all the time. It is most of the time for some and some of the time for most (another incongruity I don't understand). Until then, I guess I just keep limping along.

Re: This story really touched me

Posted: 23 Aug 2014, 12:30
by mom3
Intothelight - Great Post. I haven't had the pain Ragdoll or you have experienced. I marvel at each of your's strength, even in the dark unknown - especially in the dark unknown.

One thing I am beginning to come to terms with is "I don't know." For a long time I thought I knew. I really did. I believed I was empathetic, compassionate, and had a heart of understanding. Reflectively I did or at least a desire to keep an open mind and heart, then Faith Crisis hit. That was a tsunami I didn't expect. In the turmoil of it I found my assurances about everything overturned. But from that process (yes it is still ongoing) I am finding a less assured me. I don't know - what ever it is you are hurting from, so instead of me filling in the gap with words of pointlessness to you - let me listen, and let you unload some pain. That's all I can do, I think it's all God meant me to do.

For me this dark and ugly Faith Transition has paralleled your experience, in that I find God pointing me to be the person who looks for the soul that needs a hand. I have no theological answer or skill, but I have ears to hear, hands and arms to hold and hug, I can cook, drive, shop, sit. God will have to fix the broken - my job is to be the band-aid.

Re: This story really touched me

Posted: 23 Aug 2014, 14:37
by SilentDawning
Funny how we are not told to "rely on the arm of flesh". Yet our own actions are often our best friends in unravelling difficult circumstances. I don't see God as intervening much in my life lately -- but I do find comfort when I pray to Him at times. I am looking very forward to the day when we really know firsthand the nature of God, and whether He even exists.