Eternum

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About Eternum

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  • Birthday 10/21/1982

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    Female
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    Texas
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    Preparation, survival, history, the future, anime, games, reading, music, music production, psychology, animals, astronomy, drawing, writing, technology... many, many interests.
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    Latter-Day Saint

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  1. Eternum

    Fates worse than death

    I appreciate the disclaimer that came before the meat of your post, and the thought and length you put into it. I used my own story since it is my story, and not the many stories of others I have heard. There is a problem in the church, that is what I was getting at. And yes, my own issues are entangled in it. I would love it to be black and white: it never is. So for the sake of clarification, I recently found a way to express what I was getting at using an analogy in a direct message: -------------------- I'm going to take a schoolyard analogy, even for its flaws: let's say you got beat up by a bunch of kids a couple grades higher than you despite you fighting back. The kids run away laughing at you. Getting along isn't going to happen, so you avoid. You get some help to go to another class. You start hearing about other gangs and bullies in the school who are beating on other kids. In your current class you end up with another bully and his lackeys before you can transfer classes again. You find out the leader of the first gang that beat you up has been promoted to "helping" first-graders. The more you move, the more you see other kids living in fear, staring at the ground, shoulders hunched, and telling you that's just how it is. You know going against this by yourself is a loss. That's what happened the first time. So you go to the teachers. The teachers tell you these kids aren't perfect, they're still learning. When that fails, you just start telling kids in other grades and classes in general. They tell you the same thing, chiming in stuff like they've never had any problems like this. "Oh, by the way, weren't you beat up by some of them? You're holding a grudge, aren't you? Maybe you need to work on forgiveness." Meanwhile, some kids are hanging from their lockers by their underwear. The gangs push their way to the front of the cafeteria line and steal kids' lunch money. They force other kids to carry a stack of books they can't see over, then deliberately trip them. As soon as the teachers are out in the hall the bullies well-dressed and well-spoken, "Yes sir, yes ma'am," model students. The teachers smile and pat them on the head, wishing the other kids could be so good. Then they sigh disappointedly at the kids sprawled all over the floor, books everywhere. [Edit: let me add to this analogy that I am now being admonished for complaining, a lot, about how things are, adding to the voices that I should accept things as they are.] /end analogy  [Edit: What I'm seeing is oppression, and my own experiences with it are fueling my drive to oppose it within the church.] -------------------- So what I am trying to ask is: at what point does it stop being imperfect and start being oppression? At what point are basic human rights being trampled? Is having an issue with times of neglect, abuse, abandonment, and starvation considered complaining? The way you speak of things is as though the Lord will sweep away all woes magically. Yet, Jesus has scars on his hands, feet, and sides. He was and is forever changed by what happened to Him. That's what happens to us. There is a type of restoration, but we are never going to be returned to our state of innocence as children. Certain things that are ripped away from us do not get returned. That's not how it works. It's this sort of blindness that I am trying to pull at, to say that there are others, right next to you, who are broken down, who do not have your lovely position, who are oppressed and screaming, and you don't hear them or see them. You don't want to. You don't want to know the unpleasantness of that agony. Jesus knows, and His first two commandments were to love God and then love each other. Loving each other includes facing the unpleasantness of mortality: aging, death, agony. You look at agony, and call it complaining. I say, how naive. How blessed. You want to put a band-aid on the cavity where the heart was ripped out, call it good enough, stop complaining, go to the Lord. Can you safely say that you have nothing but good intentions with that kind of attitude? 'cause I don't buy that. People tend to be a pile of intentions, and pure good intentions is rarely the only thing there. I went to the Lord first. Without Him, I'd be dead and I'd have taken a lot of people with me. Things are really effed up and broken within the church, and there's a serious problem. You want to make it about me, I can understand that. I am a work in progress. However, I am saying that there is a lot more going on within the church than simply people with good intentions being imperfect. I was using my story as evidence. Our heavenly family would back me up regarding anything you struggle to believe. That's what also surprises me about members of this church. How little people rely on the Holy Spirit, and how little discernment is used. I don't expect people to have revelations about me, I expect members to care about what's happening within the church, and we can all receive answers about that. You see it that I feel like people owe me something. I feel entitled. Here is what I see: People who "profess to belong to the church of God" (Helaman 3:33-34), who supposedly acknowledge that they will live up to a certain set of standards, and they don't. Beyond that, they excuse and justify themselves for not living up to those standards. I am standing up to oppose the excuses, the pride, the narcissism. I don't expect people to give me anything. What I expect are members of the church to actually believe in the gospel like they say they do. I expect abuse to be dealt with. I am standing up and saying it's not been dealt with, and getting slapped for it. I don't even expect what I'm doing will fix anything. I just don't want to be passive. When this cycle completes and the church is "ripe with iniquity" which it is well on its way, I want to look back on my death bed and know I opposed it the entire time. I want to stand before God and say I did my best and did literally everything I could do. What I'm saying is that you, as a collective church, chose my narcissist stepdad and a liar bishop and rejected me, the scapegoat. You chose those 2, and you've chosen many, many others. You've chosen a stake president who screamed in someone's face that he would make sure this other man would never get into a temple. You've chosen another bishop who refused charity to a pregnant woman that the Catholic charity helped her family with. You've chosen other bishops and stake presidents I was reading about in these very forums. There are folks telling me in this very thread with full confidence that the people in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints cannot be counted on. You find this acceptable. This is what I oppose. I was hoping more would find this unacceptable. But it's easier to blame me, find me unacceptable, than to face a system that is breaking down. So when things fall apart, because they will, it will be from what everyone has collectively accepted, the behavior you've looked away from, the abuse and agony you refused to do anything about and called imperfection or complaining. Every choice matters and it will come back around. Reading the Book of Mormon shows that. I will leave you with this: Even. Every. One.
  2. Eternum

    Bugout Bag

    Thank you! These are excellent posts. Got some notes to take. Anyone got experience with the solar-charging stuff?
  3. Eternum

    Fates worse than death

    Haha, true. Thanks a lot for all you wrote. It's interesting. While I do know this on some level spiritually and find some comfort in this knowledge, the greater comfort and help to me was found in what you were willing to open up about. That was one of the difficult times in your life to reflect on, so I appreciate that you did. Overcoming a struggle, especially a larger one, can be a process of a million baby steps. I can relate to the anxiety, depression, and rational mind understanding something that the emotions take time to catch up on. In your process of healing, was it being in the church environment regularly again that helped you find your emotional footing? Time? Familiar faces? I'm sure it was a combination of things, including the healing of the Atonement, I am just wondering what stands out in memory. Was there any support for you in regards to your anxiety or depression? You don't have to answer anything you're not comfortable with, or we can move to direct messages if you want. Just trying to get a sense of those baby steps.
  4. Eternum

    Bugout Bag

    I've seen the stuff around the interwebs and I'm not sure what to make of these kits I see from, say, Amazon. Is that worth it? Better to set up your own? If so, what would be essential? What about pets? It's been on my mind as I've been watching hurricane season. This last spring we had issues with some rather serious tornado warnings and tornadoes too close to home when we never had to worry about that much before.
  5. Eternum

    Fates worse than death

    Me being overly defensive. Sorry about that. This comment has been used with me when people have followed up on something about codependency/politely trying to tell me to mind my own business. Plus, a lot, I mean a LOT of church teachings have been twisted slightly or manipulated by some members around me and I tend to get jumpy. 😕 What I meant about praying is exactly what you did. I don't expect others to have revelations about me or vice versa. So, again, I apologize. You did exactly what you needed to. And lol at the joke. That helped bring some much needed relief, thanks. So... when you suggested going to Sacrament meetings... would you mind elaborating on that for someone who has had to deal with a ton of corruption in the church? I'm at the point where I can't even trust the Priesthood in the hands of any humans, and I feel like the Sacrament getting passed to me is already corrupted.
  6. Eternum

    Fates worse than death

    I am not yet antagonistic towards the entire church as a whole, despite how it may sound. However, I am in danger of that. As I keep trying to work with this ward or that person, to be disbelieved, discredited, or told everyone's a volunteer/no one's perfect (as though it will absolve them of the responsibility of breaking my spiritual arms), I lose faith in the people who proclaim they are following the gospel. I am much calmer now thanks to yours and other posts, so I owe many here an apology. That would be @Grunt, @anatess2, @Mores, @clwnuke, @mdfxdb, you, and @seashmore. I am sorry for my behavior. I understand if those who have set me to ignore will continue to, and accept the consequences for my actions. My apology is out there all the same. As to what you said about my problems not being with the gospel, I do recognize that. People's choices are not God's fault. Here is what happened (the facts): I came to my brother's apartment with a suitcase, a laptop, a backpack. I was having panic attacks and blatant signs of PTSD (yes, that is an official diagnosis). Nightmares and so forth. I was staying in my brother's dining room, which he converted into a little bedroom alcove for me. At first a mattress on the floor, then he made a bed-frame for me with his own hands. (I could brag about my brother all day.) I was communicating with my friend from Utah at the time, the one who helped me while I was homeless for a couple weeks. He said he would help me with getting into my new ward. I can't remember who contacted the new bishop first. I just remember someone decided to drop by unannounced, unexpectedly, and bang on the door so hard the cat hissed and ran. I freaked out. Panic attack. Hid in the bathroom. [Side note: I used to be someone who could be terrified and not even tremble. This whole thing was new to me, hitting these psychological limits, and I was dealing with the frustration of feeling weak and powerless on top of it.] They did this five times that day. I told my friend, he said they were trying to get ahold of me. He contacted my new bishop and explained my PTSD. He arranged a proper time with me and showed up. He sat with my brother and I for an hour and a half, where I spilled out what happened with my stepdad. He said he would get me a visiting teacher (this was the end of 2016, before the big changes), but no money. I said I didn't want money, I just wanted proper spiritual guidance. I hadn't had any home or visiting teachers, I had been isolated by my stepdad. He said that was fine, and he would be happy to get me home teachers and some people to bring by Sacrament given my health (I have M.E.) until I felt I could go. The RS President became my one visiting teacher. She began to come by once a month or so, sit down and ask me about my month. She helped me with rides to church, since my brother is an atheist/former member and was not interested in taking his weekend time to drive to church. There was going to be a temple trip to Houston. I wanted to go, despite the PTSD and panic attacks I had even at Sacrament meeting. I went to my temple recommend meeting with the bishop, and it was that meeting that I also had a bad panic attack. I brought my full tithing with me, which I had scrounged away in my eyeglasses case during my entire ordeal. No matter how bad things got, whatever money I received the 10% went into the case. I handed him that money, knowing I wouldn't receive any help from him, but I asked him to reconsider anyway. I said the money I was giving him would really help us right now, but I am honoring the tithing commandment. Then we had my temple recommend interview. Somewhere towards the end of the interview, as we were wrapping up, I had my panic attack. My voice was shaking. I was hyperventilating. He kept asking if I was ok. I said I was, I could handle it. My recommend was renewed and I was added to the temple trip roster. The RS President said I was going to go with her. It would be a quiet ride. It was all arranged to minimize the anxiety and panic attack issues. The day of the trip was also when things started to fall apart. Some of the younger kids forgot their recommends. The RS President was going to stay behind for them. Last minute, I was lined up with this other couple, and the wife was not happy about it. I was the only one in their vehicle, and they were not understanding of my situation. We all did our best getting to the temple. I am also aquaphobic (I nearly drowned when I was born). I said all of this well in advance, yet for some reason this information was getting to the temple workers at the last minute. They scrambled to arrange some stuff for me to do and made comments like because I was there I had messed everything up. After that, as we were leaving, the wife informs me last minute that I'm getting into a van full of young women and she's going home with her kids. I pile in and talk with the young women's president on the way back. [Side note, opinion: Honestly, if I wasn't having massive levels of anxiety, it would have been a nice trip. The van was full of cool people.] The temple trip sparked days and days and days of panic attacks and anxiety and nightmares. This was seriously affecting my physical health and a nasty downward spiral began. I texted the bishop at one point out of sheer desperation. I am not someone who begs, even with a gun pointed at me. It takes a lot. That is when he told me to go to the hospital with knowledge that we could not afford it. Meanwhile, I've continued to communicate with my friend in Utah. He notices the change in me after the temple trip. He asks about our financial situation, about the bishop, if he knows, and so forth. No one has brought Sacrament by in awhile. No home teachers. After he gets the full picture, he goes to his bishop. My friend wants to help, but he's working to save for his mission. His bishop says they can't do anything since I'm not in that ward. But he does contact my bishop. This is what my bishop says: "I knocked and knocked on her door, but she never answered." My friend was flabbergasted. His bishop contacted our stake president. When our stake president talked to the bishop, he was cooperative, agreeable, and eager to help. He said he would personally come by to see me. Every so often he would send someone, a counselor, or the missionaries. I met with them at first, even though it took a heavy toll on my health. They would listen to me for a few minutes, offer a verse and some platitudes, and then leave. I would spend days to weeks recovering. I would need more doctors' visits, I would get an infection that required medicine, and that cost more money. The people in my ward were making our finances worse. So I stopped answering the door. When the bishop was asked again about my situation, he used that. He said they were "trying everything they could" and I stopped answering the door. Yet he denied that I ever agreed to have any meetings with him, despite my proof with a temple recommend in my wallet. If you were to ask this bishop his side of the story to this day, that's what it would be. This is from what my friend wrote: We moved from that ward to a better house, but we are still in the same stake to this day. I took a year off to myself and regrouped. I didn't contact my new ward right away. We stabilized financially. We did not and do not count on the church for anything, but I still pay my tithing if I have any money to give. I did go through a hard health time, but recovered. Mostly. My left foot is still partially numb. I think some nerves died. In that regard, thank you for the links. They'll come in handy. It was only after we stabilized that I went to this new ward. I came to the bishop first and vetted him. He was forthright, blunt. I liked that. We had several meetings where I went over the situation. I told him it was like I was waving my arms frantically next to a burning semi-truck no one was acknowledging. He told me I needed to stop focusing on all that and "make friends" in this new ward. He told me outright he couldn't help with my stepdad or this other bishop, who was and is still in the same building as he is to this day. But I was told that as I settled into the new ward my issues would be addressed. I tried with this new ward for over a year. I did make some friends. My issues were never addressed. Instead, they were trying to get me to forget what happened and just go on. Christmas came. All these wounds were ripped open about family, about what happened, and I realized I was just being distracted. Distraction isn't going to work. To this new ward's credit, the stuff that did come up, certain health needs, the bishop was willing to be there. we did not need his help, but the fact he was willing to back us up was more than we'd ever had. As long as it was current to us being in his ward, he was fine. But if it went into what went on with the stake presidency, or with this other bishop he shares the building with? He put his blinders on. That's where he and I butted heads and have now parted ways. That's the thing. A lot of people have caused damage. One person can't fix it. A counselor can help, but I can't afford one. Nor can a non-LDS one help with some of the issues I have that I have NOT written about. Jesus is the only one who can heal it, and He does... as long as other people aren't causing more damage. When it comes to me, I feel like He and I are constantly picking up the pieces after other people have blown through like F-5 tornadoes. Given what you and others have said, the only thing I can think of to do goes against my baptismal covenant: close the door. During that year when I wasn't having anything to do with the church was the most peaceful I'd felt in a long time. Then missionaries came by. It was like no time had passed. I was back to shaking with rage. And at this rate, I would have to stop having anything to do with anything LDS, just focus on the present day for the rest of my life, to have any peace in my life.
  7. Eternum

    Fates worse than death

    I've been looking for inspired advice. People who have prayed. Who do pray. Did you pray? Have you prayed? And not in the skewed human way we like to pray, "I know what's going on here, so I'm dictating the directions" but actually to listen to Heavenly Father? Sometimes I can see people care like in what @seashmore said. While I appreciate the care, I notice it's a response based on some conclusion drawn, this case codependency. This is not codependency. I also know simply writing that doesn't make it believable. Of course I could deny that, or it could be that of course I believe I'm not acting out of codependency. Hence why I'm seeking people who have prayed about it. To that end, I owe @clwnuke a clarification and apology on refuting the organizational bullying bit. I can see how he drew that conclusion as seashmore drew theirs. At the time, I didn't think trying to clarify my thinking was going to do any good. It may still not. It hasn't yet, in these years I've been dealing with it. I know that people act out of fear. I don't see it as methodical bullying or an organized effort against me. I see it a fair few horrific sinners blatantly doing bad things and everyone else is afraid to see it for legitimate reasons. For example, the lying bishop: I don't take my bishop's counselors defending him personally. I saw that they wanted to do good in their callings, and realizing that they were defending a bishop who didn't have the best interest of others at heart was a bit much to take in. It's their very identity at stake, immortal consequences on the soul, how they see themselves, and so forth. I have been there. What I see, though, is those moments where people shrink from being called to courage such as that. Heavenly Father called them to fight. He called them to see. He was using my situation to do so. They neither wanted to see, nor to fight. This is what has been happening in this church, over and over again. My situation (in which I was also called to the same choice to fight or not) along with others are just a catalyst for this, presented to people to have a chance to choose: fight for their spiritual lives, or submit. Submit to fear, submit to pride. So far, everyone I've encountered has chosen to submit. Christ's church is not a church of fear and pride, or a submission to being ruled by either. To make matters worse, no one is exercising one of the most basic of our spiritual foundation: praying. Just praying. Two of the main pillars of being in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is 1) having agency and 2) personal revelation. Instead, you choose to regurgitate things at me, or choose to look at me in a myriad of ways that have so far been inaccurate. And I guarantee this inaccuracy would not have been an issue if you had just prayed first. Pray, people. For the love of God, pray.
  8. Eternum

    Fates worse than death

    I'm going to pose this scenario to you: Let's say your bishop refused to acknowledge your existence, started telling people the two of you have never interacted, and people chose to believe him. When you questioned this oddness, they would defend the bishop. Say stuff like, "I'm sure he didn't mean it like that," "I'm sure you're just misunderstanding," etc. And let's say this happened to you on the heels of starvation, psychological abuse, and neglect by a High Priest in the church. Let's say you went to someone else after some time of dealing with it all yourself, he heard you out, and after a moment said, "Sounds like a financial issue.... realize that in many cases people, including members (and that includes me) are absolutely not perfect and in many instances are just as big of sinners as anyone else in the world. We can do things that are far worse than what one may expect of Saints, and we can be as far from perfection and being Christlike as anyone else on the face of the Earth. That is a separate case than that of the gospel. etc etc etc. Keep a testimony of the Gospel if nothing else." That's exactly it, though. A large part of living our gospel principles, which I'm saying for the umpteenth time, is to fight evil. It says in D&C over and over again when someone is unrepentant, kick them out. In the Book of Mormon, we do not have this large chunk of Captain Moroni and the war chapters where he's trying to reason with the wicked Nephites while trying to reason with the Lamanites. It's a bloody war because both Lamanites and wicked Nephites are out for power, for blood, and to take everyone else's liberty. My problem has NOTHING to do with money. It has EVERYTHING to do with the gospel and upholding it. I don't feel like I can walk into this church and call myself a member, upholding the gospel principles, while I turn a blind eye to the blatant evil that has been done, and IS BEING DONE. Like I KEEP SAYING, you think the abuse stopped with me? NO. It's still going. I am not OK with this. My covenants as a member, someone who takes a stand against evil, is in direct contradiction with "Ok, but allow evil in the church because..." And no one can give me a solid answer. "No one is perfect" is an excuse and you know it. The Lord knows it. At this rate it's The Church of No One is Perfect. Forgiveness is NOT condoning sin. Forgiveness is accepting what has been done, acknowledging it's happened, and moving on from it. That is fine. I am free of what's been done. What is crawling up my armpit is that evil acts continue to be done in this church, in MY church that I love and cherish because of the perfect gospel, and it BOTHERS NO ONE. It is at the point now where rapists and child abusers are not even getting dealt with by anyone in the church. As the line keeps getting moved on what is tolerated, eventually everything will be. I write out my story, since it's MY story to tell. But I have heard many, many, many,manymanymanymany stories. Many of these members who confessed continue to attend church with resignation and acceptance THAT THIS IS HOW THE CHURCH IS NOW. Do you think these people feel safe, free, or are happily maintaining the gospel when they feel that it's part of the deal? I even see that attitude in this forum when someone said to just tolerate this one bishop's bad dominion until another is called. That complacency? The frog slowly cooking in the fryer? That's what's getting to me. Nobody sees a filthy room in need of cleaning here, but everyone is turning and telling me "nobody's perfect, accept that. Also, btw, we see you begging for money and you need therapy." You know what would be great therapy? Slapping some sense into all of you. I'd feel a LOT better after that. TL;DR: If Captain Moroni was alive now, waving the banner of liberty, other members would be telling him to chill the heck out, nobody's perfect, also, stop being concerned about his fellow members and just worry about what's between him and God.
  9. Eternum

    Fates worse than death

    Do NOT twist my words @clwnuke. I have at no point talked about "Rampant and methodically organized bullying." Even if I said I never did any drugs or alcohol, would you even believe me based on how you've decided to interpret everything else I wrote? I doubt it. You pray about it? No. Or if you do, you pray about it telling Heavenly Father what you think and what you feel He should confirm about your reality, instead of listening to what He's got to say. You are a good reflection of the attitude that holds the abuse in the church in place. The truth is terrifying, the truth has change, and humans don't like change. Especially when the status quo is working for those like you. All you got to do is pray. You don't have to believe me. But do you even dare pray to know the truth?
  10. Eternum

    Fates worse than death

    I did try that again, but in my region LDS therapists aren't available. We (my ward) tried to contact one that was moving away for some sort of Skype thing, and they never contacted us back. With my stepdad having a Master's in Social Work among other types of training, my psychological training is pretty solid. I would need a therapist with a very high bullpoop meter. In the meantime, I like the stuff by Brene Brown and would love to get my hands on some of her books. Thank you @anatess2 and @Mores for reading all of my post, for your kindness, and for your insight into some present steps I can take going forward. I will do those things you wrote out. However, this isn't about me trying to make connections with others. This isn't even about being overly concerned with controlling other people's behavior. The problem is that people seem to think the abuse has ended with me. It hasn't. My stepdad continues to be a high standing member of the church while he continues to target other people/members to abuse. And that is neither something I can morally stand for, nor is it something that would fly in Christ's church. Then there's the lying bishop, which again, is someone intentionally and consciously choosing to break at least one of the 10 Commandments over and over again with, again, no consequences. He continues to be a bishop: prideful, justified, unrepentant. When stake presidents continue to defend these people, I lose more confidence that anyone in this church is actually listening to the Holy Spirit, or even has a basic grasp of good and evil. This is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. How does this not make anyone else furious at a moral level? How come no one else seems concerned about what is happening to their fellow members? No, I don't have control over other people's behavior. However, I can look at this church, look at what people collectively allow and then tell me to tolerate, and I can see that this is not in line with the covenants I made. This is me doing my best to honor my covenants in a situation in which everything is going upside down and sideways. I may be just one member, but I am taking my stand nonetheless. That goes for the tragedies I wrote. You are right @Mores. I am a child of God. Within everything is my testimony, a foundation of when people failed me, my heavenly family was there for me. I am still alive. People have done their best to try to kill me, and Heavenly Father, Jesus, the armies of heaven have come to fight for me. I've lived. I've seen miracle after miracle. I never wanted any of this in my lap, but here it is. Who I am is Heavenly Father and Christ's warrior, first and foremost. And I am not willing to tolerate the maiming of the gospel that I'm witnessing. That's why I'm not making connections. I don't want to connect with people who are telling me to tolerate evil. That's not a group I want to be close to, and I definitely don't want help from. But I am definitely letting people know who I am. They don't want to see it. They want me to settle down, stop talking about all the evil they're trying not to look at, please just accept that no one's perfect and let the blatant evil continue please, let's just make origami for this one family, ok? No. Who I am is right the frick here. It's my church too, and if evil wants to make its nest in my church I'm going to kick it the frak out. Even if I'm the only mortal fighting. I've had my non-member friends tell me to go somewhere else. Why? If these so-called members aren't going to live the gospel, they should be the ones to leave.
  11. Eternum

    Fates worse than death

    Thanks Grunt. I like the straightforwardness and I appreciate you being the only one to slug through that post. Much less respond. I absolutely believe "the Book of Mormon is the gospel for our time, that Joseph Smith was a prophet called by God, to restore Christ's Church". I have been reading the Book of Mormon throughout my ordeal with my stepdad. The natural man isn't just imperfect, the natural man is the enemy to God. That's the first problem about how far people have allowed the natural man to slide within themselves. I receive that answer a lot about how people aren't perfect. If I had the same leniency towards myself that I'm seeing in this post, I would be yet another mass shooter. Columbine was my idea too. But hey, no one's perfect, right? So I guess it's ok if I just slip a little and burn my stake building down. Or shoot that lying bishop and my stepdad in the face, maybe in front of kids. Because those thoughts have crossed my mind, and if I did that I'm still a good person, right? 'cause my intentions are overall good and I'm trying my best, right? How far would you like to take this line of thinking? 'cause for me? You either align with what you believe to your utmost, or you don't..no matter what pain you're in or what other people are putting you through. "Choose this day whom ye will serve." I have never done anything violent like that, and I thank my Heavenly Father for His heavenly strength. There is no way as a human I had the ability to withstand everything I've been through and not lash back out. I've told people before that God didn't protect me from other people--He protected other people from ME. So no, there is no casual view of "Even if they aren't showing it, I'm sure they're all trying their best" in this mind. I hang onto God with all I got. If I was talking about bloody imperfections, like how these single girls were dissing this one guy because his chin was too big? Yeah, I would deserve what you're telling me. But you're telling me to ignore abuse, ignore the fact that men with authoritative positions in the church are doing some serious wrong, and say... what... not my problem? I got my own covenants to keep? Let's talk about those covenants. They involve standing up to evil, yes? Fighting for what's right? Does your advice sound like that to you? Could you go to Heavenly Father and say, "Yeah, no, I was aware some Bad Stuff was going on in the Church, but you know, it's not got anything to do with me. This is between You and me, you know?" 'cause I don't get the impression that would fly when I read the Book of Mormon. You are more than welcome to prove me wrong here, 'cause I feel like I'm having some kind of "either you're crazy or I am or something is getting lost in translation here" going on.
  12. For lack of anywhere else to go, I'm here. I don't expect anyone to really be able to handle this. No one has so far. Also, long post. Abusive mother? Check. Overbearing? Check. Controlling? Check. Absent father? Check. After most of my childhood of coming in the door from work, snapping our heads off if we interrupted his TV news time, yelling at mom for waking him up in the middle of the night to tell him she had to take me to the hospital for an ear infection when I was 4, etc... he wakes up one day when I'm 13 and goes, "I don't want a house, a wife, two kids, and a dog. K bye." I've always been a sickly kid. I was born and spent the first 13 hours of my life in a coma. My mom nearly lost me a couple of times. She had 7 miscarriages before me. Why? Every abuse known to man had been done to her since she was a child. I had chronic strep from 3 - 6 years old and chronic ear infections. People didn't notice I was going deaf. They just got angry at me for not listening, and when I said I couldn't hear them they thought I was lying. It wasn't until a school physical showed I was 90% deaf that the adults around me finally got their act together. Insurance kept changing, and a doctor tried to cancel my surgery to restart the entire process since he hadn't seen me yet. My mom had to fight that. Glad she did. A 20 min. surgery became 1 1/2 hours, but afterwards I could hear again. Dr said they cleaned out a substance like Elmer's glue from my ears. We grew up in a dangerous neighborhood. Our dad picked it. It was outside of Detroit, we were one of a few white kids, one of a few Christians, and we were hated. Gangs ran our neighborhood, not cops, and the mayor recognized them as a political power. (He once made a deal with them not to burn down people's houses on Halloween night.) I went to school with kids regularly in juvie, did stuff like one kid stapled another kid's hand together. I went home regularly with scratches and bruises, not from getting in fights, but just from the shoving and rioting that went on trying to get from one classroom to another. Cafeteria regularly broke out into a brawl. Hallways did too. When I recall my childhood, I recall rage, yelling, screaming, violence, and knowing every swear word in the book by the age of 8. That was at school. At home was the opposite: cold, silent, emotionally dead, like a tomb. Until my parents started arguing. I'm not going to talk about my sociopath grandmother who kept me imprisoned in her house for a year, told my brother and I my mom would kill us, hit me over the head with a hair brush, or get into that. By the time we found the church when I was going on 9, it was already alien to the world and people I knew. One of the missionaries told me I had a beautiful smile and he hoped I would never lose it. We had missionaries come by as regularly as they could until our family got baptized a year later. Shortly after, within a few weeks, my dad claimed he was manipulated into it and backed out. The missionaries had to stop coming over. The neighborhood had become too dangerous. My mom was always faithful. Came from our Pentecostal grandparents. I had faith as a child. Our lives already had much prayer and miracles even before we became members. But she also had a temper. When we were young she kept it in check, but as the years went by and we got older, it unraveled a bit. She lost it sometimes and hit me over and over, or dug her nails in our arms and shoved us into the walls and doorframes and corners to yell in our faces. While she stopped with my brother when he got too tall and big, I never got too big to be shoved around. I still had a tendency to fight back, and we nearly got into a fistfight sometimes. She would just dangle disowning me, and I had already seen that when your family isn't with you, no one is. I knew without her I'd die somewhere in a gutter, probably from a serial killer, so I always took the abuse at some point. When the marriage was falling apart, my dad manipulated my mom, told her if she wanted to save the marriage she needed to stop going to church. So when he was around we didn't go. That was 3 weeks out of a month. When he would travel for work, we went to church. I got used to church being a part-time thing. However, the church wasn't the thing that people expect. My story continued to be abnormal. The bishop was an arrogant man who was only decent when being inspired by the Spirit. His wife gossiped about people and looked down on our family. When our parents separated, then divorced, the ward blamed my mom. As I watched their kids sneaking off to the church closets to make out, heard rumors about it going further than that, saw them dating at 12 and 13, I wanted to quit the church. I was an angry ball of rage about so many things, but I felt like the only one who actually believed in the gospel, and who was going through the trouble to maintain the standards even in the face of all my rage. I told my mom I was done showing up to deal with these hypocrites. She let me make that choice. That earned her more gossip and ire of the women. One even yelled in her face. Many told her she was failing as a mom, as they forced their daughters to go. Bishop's wife among them. Then her 16-year-old daughter ends up pregnant in high school a few years later. We moved out of that neighborhood by the grace of God, and I tried to move on. I couldn't figure out why I couldn't. Nightmares, anxiety, depression... my mom expected both my brother and I to just magically be emotionally fine. After spending my Freshman year living in friend's houses while my mom and I searched for a house we could afford (my brother tried to stay with our dad), I was the most stable health and emotion wise with homeschooling, but people talked her into sending me back to a public school. We wound up in a rich school in a good neighborhood as poor kids and got to learn to endure a new type of segregation and condescension. We were no longer actively attending church. I tried to pop in to church periodically, but the more life went on the more separated I felt from everyone else. Other girls, they loved babies. I didn't. They wanted children. I didn't. They were warm, and had these genuine smiles of happiness. I was faking any happy expression on my face. They talked about things that sounded like mundane concerns and worries compared to the stuff constantly on my mind. They lived in a safe world with a future to look forward to. I lived in a post-apocalyptic hell. Don't even get me started on that Personal Progress book. My stepdad came into the picture. Things started to get better. Financially, we leapt up the brackets. It got weird with people, members in the ward, people who expected us to always be less than they were. We moved across the country, into the biggest house we ever had. With that came new expectations from my mom out of nowhere. Suddenly we were supposed to be these certain kinds of kids with certain kinds of ambitions, and once again we were not magically keeping up. Every choice I made was the wrong one, and anything I was interested in (computers, science, space, etc.) was regarded as a hostile waste of time or just passed right over. When it came time to "choose" a degree, there wasn't really a choice. All the while I still had nightmares. I still had anxiety. Depression. My mom just said, "Maybe you just like being miserable all the time." But if I picked a college, picked a degree, that was outside of what my mom wanted for me, she was furious. Said I was sabotaging the family. Saw me as a failure constantly, trying to just break everything rather than do what I was supposed to. With my stepdad, she became active in the church again and he became a member. This did not help the situation any. They painted me as their overly timid daughter afraid to launch, so they were taking baby steps to get me to succeed and helping me find a place close by. (I had picked one university across the country.) My mom made it sound like I needed to be near her. It was the opposite. People bought it. Bishop bought it. My stepdad did. As for health, it never really got a lot better. I was expected to grow out of it when I hit puberty, and that didn't really happen. I had all the bad illnesses, and if there was a virus it took me forever to get over it. Not all of my doctors were good and willing to actually help find the problem, they just wanted me back in 2 weeks as a paycheck. Yet despite the obvious signs, no one believed I was actually sick. It was just something else I was lying about, screwing up, being lazy about, etc. my mom wanted to see my problems as small, while she had the actual, real problems. By the time I was in my 20s I had quit listening to myself completely. I had vivid, brutal nightmares all the time. I ignored them, and my chronic lack of sleep. I was in chronic pain. I ignored that too. I was constantly exhausted and just assumed everyone felt that way. I had migraines. Accepted that as normal. Accepted the constant anxiety and high stress as normal. I was living on my own, 20 min away from my parents, going to a YSA ward. They were giving me callings. I was swamped with work. At one point I was trying to keep up with 64 people per week in regular contact between work, church, friends, and family. Just me, no help. I got a really bad virus at one point where I ran a fever of 102 for three days straight, but was still expected to generally keep up with things. I remember after getting through the worst of things I never really recovered. I never got back to feeling as good as I had before that phase of my life. I was suicidal regularly. And one day I almost committed suicide. I swallowed a massive bottle of pills despite praying, hoping for a way out of the dark. Then I heard a distinctly female voice say, "You spit that out. You spit that out, right now." So I did. I had a glass of milk to stop the absorption of anything in my system, slept a lot, and tried to get help. My YSA bishop, though he could sense things had been amiss up to that point, he thought it was just that I didn't think people liked me. That was true: I didn't think anyone liked me. After that though, I was back in my parents' house. I saw the family ward bishop. He tried to get me some help for depression, tho I didn't tell him the full scope of things. I was outvoted on going to therapy, so instead we tried to focus on sending me on a mission. That fell through too. Then my mom got breast cancer. She didn't trust doctors, so by the time she finally went in for treatment, it was too late for a cure. She decided to rely on faith. During the beginning of this, I finally decided I was going to therapy. I needed it. This was the first time someone introduced the idea of PTSD to me. My mom was furious with me for going to therapy, drilling me with questions or making snide remarks for a few months until she finally accepted it. As for my mom, that was the final year of her life. It was only in facing death that she finally let go of her temper, finally stopped seeing me as she did, and finally started treating me like a person. She apologized to me, and is the only person who has ever done so. I got to see her transform into a peaceful, kind person. My stepdad was going to uni for a degree in Social Work during all of this, and my brother was away at his uni out of town, so it was primarily me taking care of her. She needed a lot of care, but didn't want to consider nurses or in-home care for a long time. Sisters from the church came over to help, and eventually relatives did too. Though I learned later that she spun it like she was doing ME a favor to work out some issues I was having. I became aware of my stepdad's near complete absence. He made excuses, which everyone accepted. However, he was not so busy that he didn't have a few minutes to spend with my mom, but as soon as she was sick he went from being her best friend around her all the time to leaving me to care for her. A year after she died, I was hospitalized for suicidal tendencies, and finally given the chance to sit down with someone for an actual diagnosis: theirs was severe depression. My stepdad picked me up from the hospital and I was just ashamed that it was all out in the open. He seemed kind about it, asked if he could do anything. Then a month later, after I received my inheritance, he calls me and tells me he can't help me, especially not financially. He did not pay for me to sit down for my diagnosis. I went through a state system thing. I had met someone, so I pack up my things that will fit in my car and I left. There was finally no one to explode and threaten to disown me for making my own choices. Meanwhile, my stepdad was similarly cutting off my brother. 2 days after signing a contract with him to renew his apartment lease, he tells my brother he's not going to help him anymore and leaves him to figure out the bill for the next year. All the wards he's ever attended love my stepdad. Outwardly, he's very likeable. he seems very laid back and chill. We all knew his flaws at home. He's selfish. He hates sharing. He only did stuff for mom. He resented anything she wanted to do for us, her kids. He's stubborn, argumentative, and likes to be right all the time. Critical. Overbearing in his own way. They had a lot in common. People in my ward kept telling me how much they missed my mom, how great she was, etc. All I could remember was the abuse. I tried saying things. They always seemed to go in one ear and out the other. It was always me who had to try harder. I got to leave all that for awhile. About a year and a half. I hung out with my boyfriend and his family, until I fell deathly ill myself. My health finally gave out. We figured out part of it: that my thyroid quit working. Like completely. But we couldn't afford the care I needed. My brother's inheritance had run out trying to pay for that apartment, and he wound up at our parents' house. Now I was calling him and our stepdad up saying I needed help. They came and got me. I will never forget when I opened the door to them both. My stepdad just stood and looked at me, but my brother? He made a sympathetic noise and hugged me around the neck. He told me later he knew something was really wrong. I looked bad. He couldn't believe our stepdad didn't seem to notice. With all of us at our parents' house, it was tense for a little while. Our stepdad put up with it as long as it made his image good with the church, then ousted my brother first. My brother ended up in a really bad part of town for a couple of years, had his apartment robbed, and would've gotten stuck with some bad roommates if I hadn't found him a good one. Our stepdad didn't even help him move. He could not be that way with me. We ended up moving later, to another state, where without my friends to offset the many things he wasn't willing to pay for or do (rides to doctors and medicine included), things went sour between us right away. He went to a ward for several months and never even told them I existed. I went through starvation, neglect, psychological abuse. When I started going, and things fell apart between him and I (I later learned he's a narcissist), they just insisted that it was a cultural difference and that I should try harder. Then, it exploded. It became life-threatening. I was homeless for a couple of weeks, a friend let me sleep in his car, while I went around my ward, his, and anyone in the church who would listen. No one did. We went to stake presidents, bishops, RS presidents, mission presidents, missionaries, home teachers, visiting teachers... If they didn't think it was just me having a drama and my stepdad and I could just talk it out, they told us that they couldn't do anything. "The system doesn't work like that/that's outside of my area." My RS president told my stepdad where I was at one point and he showed up, arms folded stubbornly, waiting for me to apologize. He felt he had done everything right. I contacted my brother, who had barely gotten on his feet, as a last ditch effort. My brother took me in. Our stepdad was furious, and punished him for taking me in. My brother says he was shocked that it had all fallen apart, until he had a conversation with our stepdad where he was implying I was insane and that it had to run its course. My brother said, "Ok, even if this is true, what if that kills her?" Our stepdad's response was essentially a shrug. He did not care if I lived or died. I had been living with this feeling from him for years, and the stake president on down defended him, enabled him, and tried to tell me to continue living with his abuse. When I presented evidence, they looked the other way. They denied it, said it must all be a big misunderstanding. Last I checked, he was a High Priest. I basically ran for my life, came to my brother's with nothing but a suitcase, a backpack, and a laptop. As our stepdad bore down on my brother for helping me, I stood up to him. I protected my bro. My stepdad ignored things my bro said in attempts to create peace, only responding to me when he could sound like a victim. What my brother found is that I was not insane, but that something was seriously wrong with our stepdad. I started keeping a record to send to the First Presidency. Despite serious PTSD and anxiety in bad need of medicine, I was trying to get in touch with the bishop of the new ward. He heard us out for an hour and a half, then decided I needed to grow up. He sent the RS President to sit and talk with me (just her) as a visiting teacher. I never got home teachers. I tried to go to a temple trip. People resented me being there. I begged the bishop for help with medicine, and he knew our financial situation was dire. He told me to go to the hospital, the one we couldn't afford. When this was brought up later, he denied it. I had it plain as day in text. I began to learn this bishop did this: lied. He lied about ever meeting me at all. He was the one who renewed my temple recommend. No one cared. I had proof, but it never got that far. Whatever he said, went. He told different stories to different people and that was just fine. With the help of a friend I got the record of all this up to the First Presidency. Supposedly. By the time it allegedly got into their hands, I had been through so much of "this is what he said he received as gospel from this leader," that I didn't believe anything unless the actual person said it directly to my face. Supposedly, they looked it over. Supposedly, they made phone calls. Supposedly, after hearing the lies and excuses, they decided "the church did everything it could." I don't know if that happened. I just know that the friend who helped me had a whole faith crisis over it. It was enough to destroy our friendship. Either I had to be wrong, and everything I've been through, or the leaders had to be. So he decided I was wrong. Since then, I have had a member here or there acknowledge that the church has let me down entirely, but the thing that has happened consistently? Nothing. No one seems at all bothered by the level of evil that has crept its way in. It's just my personal problems, or something. I am still being told stupid things like give more in service (as in "let us take from you") when I'm barely getting by myself--I can't even take a shower half the time. Not like dealing with actual problems. "Oh, you know of abusers in the church? That sucks. How about making origami for this one family?" One of my bishops literally encouraged me to be selfish, to forget about the other people who are the latest targets, and just "focus on yourself." make some friends. What the actual frak. Yeah, I'm just going to pretend like everything I've been put through isn't happening to someone else by the very abusers who have had no consequences? That's cool, more suffering for everyone?? We had a huge falling out over that, explosive, and the bishop just shut me out with, "Don't talk to me unless you're going to be respectful." I wanted to punch him in the nuts. -------- I'm writing all of this because now, today, on this regular Sabbath day, for the umpteenth time I'm thinking about how I'd like to belong to the church. How I'd like to be a member. But it seems to me that the moral of the story is that if you speak flattering words and kiss the right booty, just like any other corporation, you succeed. You can do whatever you want to whoever you want and they will cover for you. This is not the church I signed up to be a member of. So I just have this sorrow in my heart all the time, and a great weight. I pray about it, and that's something else too. People kept telling me to just pray. Like suddenly I'm supposed to handle all of my problems without all these members and authority who are supposed to be around? There's supposed to be this system? Please. I was treated like if it was important enough, I could pray and Heavenly Father would send angels down to protect me. He practically did. But people bailed every which way. This church has a rapidly spreading aggressive cancer in it and no one is willing to see. I promised Heavenly Father a long time ago I wouldn't try to take my own life anymore. Yet that doesn't mean I won't acknowledge that it would be quite a relief to have this whole mess over and done with. I am sick of watching the trainwreck, and I am sick of people beating me down when I try to do something to stop it. I am sick to death of pride, of denial, of cowardice, hypocrisy, and most of all... evil. I'm sick of evil constantly being excused as "mistakes" and downplayed to fit within scared little minds. I'm sick of watching a world inside and outside of the church run by fear. I'm sick of members telling themselves the ways of the world are somehow outside the church's walls when they drag it in every bleeping day. I'm sick of feeling like the only mortal warrior standing against the gaping jaws of hell. For some reason, today, I just really needed to write this all out finally.
  13. Eternum

    What’s the last movie you watched?

    Godzilla: King of the Monsters. I enjoyed it, fairly new to the kaiju genre. It was a romp, and the soundtrack is fantastic: I want to see MIB International since I loved the first two. Getting kind of sick of the political messages being shoved my way via movies though. Guess I'll skip it and see Spiderman instead.
  14. Eternum

    Native American LDS?

    Thanks for the insight. That is surprisingly varied. I imagine that has a fair bit to do with which tribes they're from and thus cultural background, but still. To me, being the minority among minorities is already tough. And then being a member of a rather small religion by comparison to others. Talk about being different even among the different. That's why I was curious. It seems like it would take some extremely brave souls willing to carve out that kind of individuality.
  15. Eternum

    Native American LDS?

    I've heard in general about how the original population of the Americas has had a lot of conversions into our faith. It's easy to see those results from South America, but due to the numbers of Native Americans in the States, that is much more difficult. I heard from a returned missionary assigned to a reservation area some years ago that he had success. But is there anyone who would be willing to write about being NDN LDS?