I am re-picking up this blog because I found that I write in the least confusing manner here. I want my family to have somewhere to go to answer their questions about me. Because this became much about my religious thoughts, I should let you know where I am at. (I had a mental break down April 2013, I was on heavy meds for 6 months and the summer was a super dark depression, End of October, My psychiatrist let me off med. Nate lost his Job at the end of October 2013) For the two years of my husband's unemployment I was a missionary, I was temple attending, I was so Mormon. I highlighted, made inserts for, and delivered the most beautifully given gift of a Book of Mormon to my friend. I put it with chocolate and the message, "Just like with this chocolate bar, you have to open it to enjoy its contents. ;)" Good heavens. I then started in on the Book of Mormon project for another friend of mine who was without a testimony of Christ, so I figured I would center focus on Him as I prepared it. It also prompted me to write a research paper on the three witnesses- complete with bibliography at the end (We are at Summer 2014)! I didn't end up finishing this second Book of Mormon gift. I remember vividly the moment the unemployment was finally over (less than a week before Halloween 2015). I walked into the house and Nate lay on the couch in the living room with a look of dread. Worried, I asked him what happened... "I was accepted for a job." Not what I was expecting. I wanted to celebrate, but he was so worried. He had to leave for 3 weeks to train for his job in Arizona. He came back to Portland just before Thanksgiving. My thoughts were, "How peaceful, how nice to be at the end of this trial. Everything is right." I had learned in those years which I fondly called "The crash course in discipleship" to trust God, trust that He is aware of me and has my situation in His capable and loving hands and there is so much more to it than I can see. I thought not just, "God sees where this path is heading", but "God sees the importance of each moment in Eternity- even this really lame moment, God sees it and knows why it is here." It gave me peace in the storm. So, with the storm settling, and things as they should be, I felt God's favor had finally shined on us. The peace was wonderful. Except, I had wondered about what God would do with one like me- though I tried so hard to grow and be with God, I could see that my testimony of the LDS faith had become this scarred testimony and wasn't able to catch fire in my heart the way it used to. I struggled to feel Him near- I worked really hard for touches of love and the spirit. I felt like I had been trying to amend the wrong I had done to God in questioning my faith. I thought the distance was due to some sin. I was trying to work off the sin for a proper show of contrition. I sat in my bed one night, contemplating these things and the fact I had thought that this feeling would get better once the trial had been lifted. I had thought that connection would be restored. I sat up in my bed, I prayed and asked God to remove the scar from my testimony and from my heart, heal it with the atonement. I know that the atonement means there is no gap too wide that it cannot be healed. I know that God loves me and that He wants that close relationship as much as I do. I know that my Savior died so that gaps like this could be healed." and I went to sleep, confident that God would honor this prayer, apply the atonement and bridge the gap. Within the week, someone commented after a testimony I left on a youtube video which cast Joseph Smith in a poor light. A conversation began and eventually, someone encouraged me watch a video by Earl Erskine. Earl was a former bishop, he had devoted his long life to the church and loves the members with all his heart. He spoke so lovingly it disarmed my defenses. He talked about the humble way he found his way out of LDS faith. He took a challenge from the then Prophet, President Hinkley, to read the Book of Mormon by the end of the year. He finished early and picked up an 1830 version to read. He saw huge differences in the very nature of God being portrayed. The LDS people love their doctrines and one in particular is the belief that there is a Godhead made of three separate beings. In the 1830 version, it says that God the very Eternal Father is the Son of Mary. As an LDS person this should strike alarm for a number of reasons. First, the very beginning of the church, before the Book of Mormon was The First Vision- there are a few different ways it is told, but the accepted doctrinal version in the LDS church speaks of God the Father standing next to Jesus Christ as they tell Joseph Smith that none of the churches are correct. Joseph's scribe for the Book of Mormon that we have was Oliver Cowdery. He said is also that the seer stone would not let Joseph go from one word to the next without having it right (<--this and="" as="" authoritative="" be="" but="" church="" is="" it="" minimal="" not="" of="" on="" one="" statement="" testimony="" the="" there="" this-="" three="" u="" witnesses="" would="">the--this>
scribe). How is it that Joseph had translated words that spoke of a Trinitarian God if he saw them as separate beings? In fact- the first vision account we have in the Joseph Smith History part of the Pearl of Great Price is the most late written of all accounts and is the only one that speaks of two personages. It was released shortly before the reprinting of the Book of Mormon with the now 'distinct beings' nature of God. The importance of this is that it is not a story of a flawed, human prophet- it is the story of restored doctrine. It is the story of central doctrinal truths being restored and then re-restored flipped on their heads. Every piece of canon had a big restoration flaw- (but I will not go into it all here). The question went through my mind- "Would God restore false doctrine through his prophet?" "How does 1830 Book of Mormon make sense with the first vision account? Is it Trinity or three separate beings?" In Deuteronomy 18:20-22 God protects us with a test we can administer to men who claim to be prophets. I believe this test to be more reliable and honest than one where you feel by the spirit what to do. My argument is that because our hearts are very hard to know sometimes. How do the LDS answer for the fact people have feelings of the Spirit while reading the Quaran and that it was just as miraculously brought to Islam as the Book of Mormon was to the LDS people. I don't feel that a later work should be allowed to skip past the tests outlined in the first work. It should also be in agreement with the first work. Happily, Brother Erskine didn't leave it there- demolition of faith done, and walk away. He continued to lovingly express his faith in the Savior and encouragement to read the Bible. Peace rested all around me. Fire of the Holy Spirit consumed my heart, healing the wound which had been there. "You will be ok," is the peace the spirit spoke. A tear fell down my cheek because what was done could not be undone- my family, my dear husband would sorrow and have pain as my faith has been changed. I felt divine love surround me. Also, the knowledge settled in my mind- "Yes, you work hard, and yes, you are flawed, but because of Jesus Christ, you are accepted in Me." - "Accepted"! I hadn't felt that before. I felt striving to be good enough to earn enough faith points and the work pulls the love along behind it... this overwhelming feeling of gifted love and acceptance for my soul not because of me- anything I had done, but because God loves me... it was a powerful moment. I felt my testimony of Christ in that moment, was gathered into the barn, and the rest of the field was burned. This is the transformation that took place- as you will see in earlier postings in this blog, it was after long hours of study and years grappling with questions, insisting that they had an answer and trying- then a period where I felt marred -I felt my faith and striving would only take me so far. I carried a strained relationship with God and at last I trusted him enough to let it all go and trust Him. The feeling did not go- I felt the spirit sustaining me through the entire next year as I dealt with the huge change and I didn't want to be alone. "Letting it go" is not as easy as singing Elsa's song and tossing up your arms. I had once felt safe in these promises and doctrines. They were a part of me and how I associated with the entire world around me. It was not a light thing to let them go. I loved them so much- but I had to come to a place of honesty in myself where I evaluated in my heart- If this is not true, why am I afraid to let it go? Perhaps I love and trust this mirage of safety more than I love and trust the truth or God. Instead of letting go of the Joseph doctrines the first time, I clung on with all my might and it tore sanity out of me and then once my brain was back, it still had my peace with God. It wasn't until I learned to really trust the real God that I was able to let go of my attachment to Joseph's Church. I am sorry if that story offends- it is how I understand my experience and was not written in effort to attack. I say real because it is hard to believe anything spiritual can be real after many spiritual experiences among teachings of a false doctrine. And so, where am I now?
I have a testimony of Christ and I try to understand the Bible and live according to the guidance I have from God. I attend with a Nazarene church near me. They are wonderfully welcoming and I am blessed to be able to attend with them. My relationship with the LDS church is something I am figuring out as I go. I still attend 3 hours on Sunday with my family. I love and admire the people so much. I try to balance being respectful and being honest- it usually doesn't ruffle feathers. I don't tend to stick around for lessons on the Book of Mormon or Priesthood or Prophets or Temples or Eternal Family... because these things are not in my heart and there is nothing supportive I can say. Sitting in a room with people who believe and are actively agreeing with statements which I have learned are not sweet and correct, it just makes me feel "other" and it stirs a pot of anger in me. I don't want that pot stirred so I excuse myself. I have been learning how to converse with members about "What happened". I realize that while I don't mind answering questions- my volunteering information can be rude. I have also learned that setting and time available are important factors in what I ought to say and if given the opportunity, I would love to pray beforehand for a spirit of love and friendship and respect and honesty to be with us that we communicate effectively what is in our hearts and no one leaves alienated. I can tell when someone wants to consider and talk about questions and when someone wants to be right and shut it down. It is like an error message pops up on their foreheads and the information doesn't compute.- I totally get it- the current operating system in their brains is set to a certain world view and things that don't blend well- it's like a bug in a computer. I could be better at figuring out what to do in circumstances where I can tell it is not being received well. I want to be supportive to my LDS friends and family. I want them to come to me with whatever question they have- whether it be, "How do I communicate effectively with my friend/family member who left the church?" or "Why does your bible look different than mine?" or "Why did you leave?" I feel this desire to see in others the love I had for my friend- the one who left- I wanted to find answers for her and be able to defend the gospel. From where I sit, I wonder why no one asks or cares about why I left. This is salvation to them. It seems to me that no one loves me like I loved my friend- I faced my fears to answer her questions. No one loves the LDS gospel the way I loved it- even that I fought long hours trying to defend it and be there for my friend. I would love to have a real conversation- where heavy things are considered heavy and not brushed aside. It is important if for nothing else because if you truly feel I have fallen and you truly love me- then why are you ignoring the cause of my "fall"? There, My Novelette. I list the date of leaving the LDS church as December 6, 2015.
-(In an earlier post I talked about having to be Mormon for my sanity. Here is exactly what I was doing when my Brain broke: Non-stop for about three days, I was studying the Book of Mormon and trying to prove it right. With the knowledge of Joseph's magical practices, his polygamy and polyandry and his talismans and masonry- it felt like the spirit could speak out of anywhere and with lack of sleep and lack food which had combined for chaos in my body and mind, I broke. My family woke up the next morning to over 70 new messages on our facebook group, mysterious writings where I felt I had the gift of prophesy- it is super embarrassing and nothing like that has ever happened to me before or since. I think the result of having my world crash the month before and trying to pick up the pieces and make them fit again- it wouldn't work and I couldn't sleep about it. Sadly, my mental moment went on for a week I think and I couldn't make it home one day while driving- so I stopped and police came and checked on me and called an ambulance to take me to the hospital.)-