A journal entry

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about a lot of different things and I haven’t really taken the time to actually think things out and figure out what I’m really thinking.  I went to the temple after church yesterday and sat under a tree to write in my journal.  I mostly just wrote a lot of random thoughts that I had and so it might not make sense, but I wanted to post it here.  It is a lot of questions that start out with me seemingly questioning my beliefs and testimony, but in the end help me to clarify my thoughts about my testimony and realize that I still have one, but I also have a lot of questions.  This is slightly edited (mostly for clarification reasons).

I’m so frustrated because I believe that the church is true.  I’ve known in the past that it is true, but lately I’ve struggled with it.  I think I still believe it’s true.  I know that it has elements that are true.  There are a lot of things about the church that I know are true, but there are others that I don’t.  What do I do when thch church says to do something, (and I can completely understand the reason behind it) but I don’t agree with it, especially when it isn’t official chruch doctrine (Prop 8 – I don’t disagree with it so much because of the whole gay marriage thing as much as it is a civil rights thing).

And what about everyone that’s happy without the church?  What about me?  People tell me I won’t be truly happy in a homosexual relationship, but what if I do feel happy with a partner?  I know people that are!  Are my feelings of guilt/righteousness produced by actually doing something wrong/right?  Or is it just a placebo effect (written in my cell phone: Can the church make you happy no matter who/what you are?  Or are there better ways to be happy depending on personal characteristics?  Are members of the church happy because they are doing what they are told what will make them happy?  Or is it when they do what they are told, the result is true happiness because that is the end result of doing that particular action regardless of whether it is “right” or “wrong”?  – People are told they will feel better after taking a certain medicine that is in reality a placebo and they are psychologically convincing themselves that they feel better versus feeling full because the stomach is full, not because we have told ourselves we feel full).

How do we know what true wickedness is?  (Baba from the Kite Runner explains his belief on sin: “There is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft… When you kill a man, you steal a life. You steal his wife’s right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness.”)  What if we are complicating life by worrying about too much?  What if all we are to worry about is the way we deal with other people and our personal relationship with God?  Isn’t it true that the two great commandments are to 1 – Love God completely, and 2 – to love everyone as equally as you love yourself?  I suppose the best way to love God is to do what he asks me to do, but how do I know if what I’m being told is God’s word really is God’s word?  I’m a Liahona.  I have a hard time taking things on faith.  I’m one of those people that has to do things for myself; ask questions, try things out, experiment.  I believe what Moroni said (not necessarily because of a spiritual witness, but becuase it makes logical sense) that the only way to know for a “surity” about anything is to “experiment” on it.  That is why I truly believe some of the things I believe.

At this point, I was feeling a lot better and laid down to take a nap.  I don’t have answers to all these questions yet.  I’m still figuring everything out, but now I know where I am with the church (and I’m still going to stick with it).  I have to remind myself that I am a Liahona, and it is my nature to have questions and that isn’t bad.  I still do have a testimony.  I know that the gospel is true and I love the church.  I just now have questions that I haven’t ever really faced before.  I always learn so much when I have doubts and questions and feel like I become more refined.  I’m not looking for anwers from anyone but God, so if you feel the need to give me answers, don’t.  It won’t matter to me. I’m not looking for sympathy either.  I’m just going through a period of questioning, refining, and re-commital.

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9 Responses

  1. I don’t really have anything to add – I just wanted to say that this is a very thought provoking post.

  2. Boy does that internal conversation sound familiar. Let me know when you get some good answers, because like you I’m still looking.

  3. I think in life we are either stepping back from the gospel or stepping towards the gospel. We are never standing still. Even though a little distance a few times is good to gain some perspective, be careful you don’t step so far back that you loose sight of your original testimony.

    I myself struggle with SSA, but I also have a dear friend who struggles with it, and I have seen her go from saying “I have a testimony and will never leave it.” And in the space of two years she now says, “I don’t think I ever had a testimony.”

    Some may say her original testimony was false or because she was raised in the church and ‘brain washed’ she came to her senses. But I personally feel she stepped so far back from the gospel she can no longer see the ‘light’ shinning from it.

    Can we and should we have questions? YES! Questions help us strengthen our testimony, but if we must watch what we do with our questions.

    Just my own personal thoughts, but I thought I would share.

  4. Something that my Young Woman teacher said once stuck with me and has never left. It’s been a huge guide post for me, and I hope it helps: It goes:

    Don’t question the things you know because of the things you don’t know.

    This was something that the spirit whispered to her spirit when she was in turmoil over her own testimony. I’ve thought about it many times, and the Lord does allow things to happen to strengthen our faith in him.

    Just when we think we can’t stand any more hardship, we make the choice to hang on to what we do know is right, and the sun comes out again…..

    I would encourage you to consider reading

    1) Believing Christ
    2) Following Christ

    both by Stephen E. Robinson

    They both changed my life, and as a result, I went a mission, and I’ve never looked back!
    Keep the faith, brother, it’s worth it!

    The Lord is the only one who can offer power strong enough to bind ourselves to him eternally!

  5. First off, I think that it is complete BS that you can’t be happy outside of the church. I believe you can live a happy and complete life with a partner, as well as a moral and an admirable one. If we were guaranteed happiness by staying in the church, there would be plenty of pissed people around, me included. However, I don’t think this is about what makes us happy. It’s about what we feel is the right decision. To stay in the church or to leave it should be made based on whether it is right or not. I think that is what Faith is. You follow the Gospel because you know it to be true, and then you Hope that things will become manageable. It sounds pretty bleak, I know, but that’s the decision that everyone eventually needs to make. Do I stick with a sure thing, or do I put my trust in the unknown?

  6. What a great post. We all need to examine our beliefs and the role they will play in our lives. My testimony of the gospel, and my feelings toward the church were much more fixed than they are now. I question much more, but that doesn’t bother me. Some may say I lack faith. Actually having doubts and pressing forward requires me to exercise much more faith than ever before. I am grateful for the events in my life that have caused me to question. I continue to grow from the experience.

  7. I came across your post earlier today and I thought about the inner struggle that you are having and as I was laying in bed I also thought about another story I read earlier today from a friend of mine relating to service to a ward member. Found here http://blog.ldspad.com/2009/06/23/fathers-day-move/ It moved me today in a way that is very special. It reminded me that there is nothing more valuable then service. It has a power to change us like no other. More important then any principle or commandment I know. It more then anything will transform us into what we are trying to become. It has the power to turn us to our Savior and remember that he laid down His life for us. A service that we can never repay. I just felt as though in some small way I could act in the name of our Savior Jesus Christ and reach out to you and let you know that you are loved. He cares for you so much. He knows the struggles that you are facing. He will help you overcome them as you seek to serve others. I hope this day and forward we can spread this message of service and that we can find ways to serve others and through this we shall find happiness. The peace of our Savior is such a beautiful thing and I thank Joey today for reminding me of it through His wards act of service.

  8. You may want to pick up and read Elder NEal A. Maxwell’s book “Of one heart”. It is a short, 57 page book- a compilation of “letters” sent between a man living in the City of Enoch before it was taken to Heaven. It may help you with some of your struggles.
    Stay well.
    Jordan

  9. Hey man…thanks for posting this. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…I love how you write. Others have commented that your posts are very thought provoking and they are. However, I love how often times you have a way of being very plain and simplistic and to the point while being deep at the same time. I don’t know if I told you or not but I’m quitting my other job which will hopefully provide for some opportunities to come and hang out more.

    Hope all is well!

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