This feels like my last chance.

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Minyan Man
Posts: 2210
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

This feels like my last chance.

Post by Minyan Man »

I joined the LDS church as a Senior in College with my wife & (4 year old daughter).
One week later my wife became an exwife & moved with our daughter to California.

My Bishop was very supportive & helped me get through this situation.

I graduated college & moved to my 1st job, met my current wife who was very active in the church. We were married in the SLC temple, had (2) sons, were active & happy. We have had various positions over the years & I thought I was prepared to handle anything that life would give me. I was wrong.

My daughter would come & visit with us during the summer months. She was active in her ward in California. Then, early one morning I got a phone call. (Early morning calls are never good.) My former in-laws were telling me to get my daugher out of California & away from her mother. I found out that my daughter was being abused. Her mother had quickly become inactive & went off the deep end. (Drugs, etc.) I got my daughter back to live with us. She was 13 years old & stayed until 18, when she went to college.

I thought I was prepared. I couldn't understand how God could allow the abuse of children in this way. I understand that: "bad things happen to good people". This is some of the things I experienced as a result of this situation:
A. When I prayed, all I got was silence. I felt like I was part of a cosmic practical joke.
B. I didn't feel inspired to hold any Church positions or keep the commandments.
C. I didn't feel that I had any Priesthood authority or the right to act as if I did.
D. I tried to talk with various Bishops. My daughter's Bishop in Calif was only interested in if he could use my name in a Bishop's court for my exwife. My Bishop seemed very nervous & the only advice I remember is: keep coming to church & the answers will come. We did for awhile & the answers did'nt come.

For Fast & Testimony meeting, I would hear how someone lost their car keys, prayed about it & God immediately showed them where the keys were. So, where was my answer to prayer? I do get comfort from D&C 121 but, I want an answer as quickly as Joseph did.

Over the years everyone in my family seems to have gotten on with their lives. None of my children are active. They are well adjusted inspite of it all. My wife & I are back to church trying it one more time. I go to sacrament meetings & barely get through that. It doesn't seem the same. I do get inspiration where I can find it. It usually isn't at church.

My experience isn't any different than many other members. As a Church or as a member, we don't or can't talk (or listen) about our most intimate problems. As though acknowledging the problems, we are less than perfect. I can see where it would be helpful to know that others have gone through similar experiences & come out whole on the otherside. I do believe that God sometimes answers our prayers this way.

I told my Bishop that if he ever knew someone that was going through similar issues I was experiencing, please give them my name. I would be willing to talk with them. I never heard from him.

I'm sorry this is so long. Please excuse the grammar & spelling errors.

Mike from Milton
Featherina

Re: This feels like my last chance.

Post by Featherina »

Hi Mike,
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, feelings & experiences.
I've always loved Psychology (which means "Study of the soul") & see it as inseparably part of Spirituality.
I agree that it could really help us if we would be more open with each other.

Once, I noticed this sister at church who looked so sad & asked her what was wrong & it turned out she had just found out a family member died.
If I hadn't asked, I may have found out maybe... & later.
Other times, I've realized way after the fact, because I was too absorbed in other things.
I think it takes a lot of energy... being aware & noticing (our own thoughts & feelings & those of others) & risk in extending oneself to either share or ask.

About God answering prayers... I believe that:
1) "The kingdom of God is within you" - so feeling comfort, love & intuitive guidance is in getting still or finding inspiration that is unique for you.
2) We are God's hands... "Prayer doesn't change things. Prayer changes people & people change things." The injustices throughout the world are not because God doesn't love or care (God IS love). It's because the hands involved have exercised their "free agency" & chosen something other than what seems like love.

That's great that you're there for your daughter. I imagine your ex feels bad & was in a bad place to be abusive like she was.
I hope the best for you & your family.
Welcome to this forum - I look forward to hearing more from you! :smile:
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Cadence
Posts: 1199
Joined: 08 Dec 2009, 21:36

Re: This feels like my last chance.

Post by Cadence »

Mike- If you have not realized it by now you are in some pretty good company. Over the past two years I have read so many stories that are similar to yours. Heck my story is in ways similar to yours. All I can say is I have experienced some up and down moments since I realized the church aint what it claims. But mostly it has been good. I get to experience a whole new world that was kept hidden form me. I believe facing the realities of the world and the way it works is far better that trying to fit the world into your reality.
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
Old-Timer
Site Admin
Posts: 17239
Joined: 21 Oct 2008, 20:24

Re: This feels like my last chance.

Post by Old-Timer »

Welcome, Mike. I don't have time right now to add much, but I do want to tell you I'm glad you're here.
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
Posts: 7597
Joined: 09 May 2010, 19:55

Re: This feels like my last chance.

Post by SilentDawning »

Welcome -- your story sounds a bit like Roy's here, where he had a stillborn child which opened up a number of faith issues. He may have some perspective that bears on this more directly than my own experiences. I don't have much advice to give in this case, other than to say it's good to have you among us. I hope to hear more from you.
"It doesn't have to be about the Church (church) all the time!" -- 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."

A man asked Jesus "do all roads lead to you?" Jesus responds,”most roads don’t lead anywhere, but I will travel any road to find you.” Adapted from The Shack, William Young

"The wise man has the power" -- adapted from What A Fool Believes -- The Doobie Brothers
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Heber13
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Posts: 7245
Joined: 22 Apr 2009, 16:37
Location: In the Middle

Re: This feels like my last chance.

Post by Heber13 »

Cadence wrote:I believe facing the realities of the world and the way it works is far better that trying to fit the world into your reality.
Well said, Cadence.

Mike, welcome. I think you'll find it easy and safe to ask questions and talk about stuff here. We are all less than perfect. The Church is less than perfect. But there is good to be found, despite that.

Thanks for joining our discussions, I look forward to learning from your posts.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."
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Brian Johnston
Posts: 3499
Joined: 22 Oct 2008, 06:17
Location: Washington DC

Re: This feels like my last chance.

Post by Brian Johnston »

Hi Mike, welcome to the StayLDS community.

I get the reasons that caused you to put some emotional distance between the Church and you. You have some valid reasons, and I have also known times when I felt that emptiness and the feeling of being alone in the universe. I'm especially sorry to hear about what happened to your daughter. That is tough :-(

So what do you feel is drawing you to go back to Church -- for a "one last chance" look? It didn't seem like you described that part of your experience enough for me to get a good feel for what is tugging at you.
"It's strange to be here. The mystery never leaves you alone." -John O'Donohue, Anam Cara, speaking of experiencing life.
Roy
Posts: 7170
Joined: 07 Oct 2010, 14:16
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: This feels like my last chance.

Post by Roy »

SilentDawning wrote:Welcome -- your story sounds a bit like Roy's here, where he had a stillborn child which opened up a number of faith issues. He may have some perspective that bears on this more directly than my own experiences. I don't have much advice to give in this case, other than to say it's good to have you among us. I hope to hear more from you.
Well, I was thinking that your story sounded something like mine but I guess this clinches it. I'm really sorry for what your family has been through. If you feel inclined you can read my introduction titled, "When Bad Things Happen to Good People." I'm available for PMs or phone conversation if that would be helpful to you (Phone would require PM first so as not to publish my number to the world).

My catalyst occured almost 2 years ago and I think I moved through it at a rather fast clip. I consider myself whole. I have reestablished my worldview on principles that both meaningful and more consistent with my life experiences.

If you would prefer to post online (in this or other threads), that's ok too. We welcome your perspective and your contributions to our collective goal of moving forward in positive ways.
Brian Johnston wrote:So what do you feel is drawing you to go back to Church -- for a "one last chance" look? It didn't seem like you described that part of your experience enough for me to get a good feel for what is tugging at you.
I would like to echo Brian's question and add some of my own.

What about your wife? Did she have the same struggles that you did over the fairness of God? How did she feel about taking a break from the church? How does she feel about going back now?
"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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ATVjunkie
Posts: 20
Joined: 22 Jul 2009, 00:05

Re: This feels like my last chance.

Post by ATVjunkie »

Welcome Mike.
Featherina wrote:2) We are God's hands... "Prayer doesn't change things. Prayer changes people & people change things."
Wow, I really like this. Powerful.

God does answer prayers. Sometimes it's just really hard to recognize when and how those answers come and the time table is completely whack. I still can't seem to get a handle on it. Most times it seems that mine are just bouncing off the ceiling. Yet, through experiences I've had in the past, I know that he hears them.
- ATVjunkie

_______________________________________________________
"Hey, what do you say we both be independent together, huh?"
Minyan Man
Posts: 2210
Joined: 15 Sep 2011, 13:40

Re: This feels like my last chance.

Post by Minyan Man »

Brian Johnston wrote:Hi Mike, welcome to the StayLDS community.

I get the reasons that caused you to put some emotional distance between the Church and you. You have some valid reasons, and I have also known times when I felt that emptiness and the feeling of being alone in the universe. I'm especially sorry to hear about what happened to your daughter. That is tough :-(

So what do you feel is drawing you to go back to Church -- for a "one last chance" look? It didn't seem like you described that part of your experience enough for me to get a good feel for what is tugging at you.
Reply:
This is the question that haunts me. The only thing I can come up with is: I miss it.
When we were active, everything fit together like a big puzzle. Everything made sense.
I had no problem with the doctrine. No one offended me in any way.

It is my relationship with God that I have a hard time understanding.
Iam like a spoilded child that when things don't go the way I think they should, I throw a tantrom, stomp my feet & hold my breath until I turn blue.

I expect that when I have a problem God should come to me personally with my own personal vision & revelation.
Just like the person in the Fast meeting who loses their car keys & God tells them where to find them.
I know that's not realistic. Everything is realistic to a spoiled child.

Mike from Milton
Last edited by Minyan Man on 23 Sep 2011, 12:39, edited 1 time in total.
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