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lastpatriot2001

Not sure there is a way back

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I have to first admit that I chose to make a post on this site as I'm not sure where else to go at this point.  In some way, it's also probably easier to discuss my concern here where I don't have to be concerned about bias answers.

 

Like many people, I grew up in the church but fell away for a number of years after returning from a mission.  Even though I'm "active" now, I often feel that the only reason I attend is for the sake of my family.  I have also received some amazing blessings in my life which I cannot deny though, for some reason, I have quit reading my scriptures, saying prayers, and generally doing much of anything with the church anymore.

 

The truth is that I want to believe/hope but I have made so many mistakes that I may have convinced myself that there simply isn't a way back anymore.  I've not done anything that could hinder my membership and have even spoken to my bishop a few times.  In each case, I suppose I never felt that God truly forgave me for what I've done in the past and so I would soon slip back into my old sins again.  Somehow, by making these mistakes again, I felt it would justify why I don't feel like God is concerned about me anymore.

 

There were times in my life where I know God stepped in to help/answer prayers and so amazing were these cases that I feel that due to my mistakes, God will never be able to trust me again.  When you come to this point in life, it's easy to just sit back and say, "what's the point of even trying?"

 

I would really like to become the person I once was but I'm so ashamed that I've failed and know longer believe that there is a road back.  As such, I just now go through the motions.

 

Again, I'm not sure why I'm posting this here but I suppose that writing about all this helps.

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Falling into inactivity is something that you are not the first, nor will be the last to do. It happens to the even some of the best, most dedicated LDS. In my 1 1/2 years as an investigator I have personally seen some go, then quickly come back. And while they felt guilty they pressed on and remembered to endure to the end. 

 

We have all made mistakes in our lives, but its how we handle that mistake that counts. Do we let it create doubt and corrupt our way of thought? Or do we learn, grow and move forward rather than dwell? Doubt is like a weed in a beautiful garden, unless you pluck it at the roots it will spread and choke the garden until nothing is left besides well... more weeds.

 

You have found yourself in that situation, pull those weeds and be that person you want to be. The guilt you feel means that you care, you realize that falling away was not in your best interest. This is your chance to come back and shine brighter than you did ever before. 

 

Be proud of your service and who you are, seek out guidance from those who care and love for you. Your Bishop is a great source of counsel, as is the missionaries in your ward. Go visit your local temple. When I am down I visit the Portland Temple, they have an atrium literally inside that you can enter and sit in as just a visitor. For me its an amazing experience, empowering and helps lift me. The weight of the world is literally off my shoulders there.

 

And of course you can always seek the advice and words of fellow LDS on this forum, its been a wealth of information and encouragement for me here and I know that you would enjoy it as well. Others will likely post their insight as well. This is mine. You can always PM me as well if you would like, I am always all ears for someone who is in need of venting.

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If you don't believe you don't believe you can not make yourself believe. If the gospel isn't making you happy leave church life is too short to be miserable.

 

If it is just you feel you have sinned to much or what ever then I would say the atonement gives anyone who is truly repentant forgivness. So there is a way back

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If you don't believe you don't believe you can not make yourself believe.

 

Hmm. And yet we are commanded to believe. But you're saying we have no choice in the matter. So God has commanded us to do something that we cannot help. So we have no agency after all.

 

Or maybe belief is a choice.

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I get the feeling that you're disappointed in yourself and you fear that you've disappointed the Lord.  You served a mission, you've had wonderful spiritual experiences, and then you still fell away from the church for a time. Please remember that we all have need of the atonement. The church is not a haven for the perfected, but a beacon for the sinner. And we have all sinned. No one is perfect. We all need the atonement in our lives.

 

It seems much easier to forgive others rather than forgive ourselves. Forgive yourself, ask the Lord for forgiveness. And take the atonement to heart. The atonement is for you. The Lord knew we would make mistakes when we came to earth. Even the elect would make mistakes. He wants us to return to Him. He wants us to forgive ourselves. My opinion, He is only disappointed when we don't repent.

 

Start doing the things that you know will improve your spirituality. Start reading the scriptures again and the Ensign. Say your prayers, and really pour out your soul to your Father in Heaven. Let him know of your doubts and fears. Continue attending your church meetings. Your spirituality and the gift of the Holy Ghost will come back.

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I can see what you mean Prophet. I don't believe in aliens if heavenly father came down and said dude I command you to believe in aliens then I would try my very hardest but I am not sure I would with a true heart say yes father I believe

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Okay... So you've got a problem with Pride.

Actually, let me backtrack a moment.

You DO see that believing that you're too "bad" for God to forgive, despite not even doing anything that would put your membership into question, much less require the long slow process back from excommunication, is a sin of Pride? Yes? God can forgive killers, abusers, adulterers, thieves, liars, and the whole rest of mankind... But you, yourself? Nope. Unforgivable.

Sweetheart.

You're special, and Heavenly Father loves you... without you having to put yourself on an unreachable pedestal (up or down).

HF trusts us to make mistakes. To learn from them, or repeat them, as we will. You have kids, yes? Have you decided to never trust your toddler ever again -in their entire long lives- because they said "I can do it myself!" And failed? Or did you smile at them, know there was no way on earth they could do it themselves, and let them try? Most likely you've let them try dozens, even hundreds of times. And a few times here or there, you've stepped in and stopped them, and more times than you can count help them without them knowing it or taught the same lesson over. I can guarantee that you will trust your 25yo to use a cup, or cross the street, or put their pants on right side out even if your toddler isn't ready to do those things, yet. Even if they insisted and promised they could do those things as toddlers and failed miserably, or threw an unholy fit about not being allowed to. Even if every other toddler but yours could do those things perfectly (and they can't). You will still love them, and trust them, and cherish them. Not because they didn't make mistakes. But because they are the children you love with your whole heart.

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I know how you feel for I have felt the same way. Up against the wall of sin and addiction I did all within my power to repent and when I was still bound by sin and when no feeling of forgiveness came I felt very discouraged and reasoned as you reasoned that if all I can do is still not enough, then what is the point of trying.

 

"I've repented but don't know if the Lord forgives me. If he doesn't forgive me then what's the point of resisting sin further? If the Lord doesn't forgive me then what is the point of repenting?"

 

You wonder if the Lord has forgiven you for your sins when you repent of them. Certainly if you repent He will forgive you so the question becomes; How do you know that you've repented properly and sufficiently before the Lord?

 

Imagine you take your car into the dealership to be fixed. The dealer looks over the car and gives you a list of everything wrong with it. You look it over and choose a couple of items most pressing to resolve and pass over the rest either because you lack the funds to repair or the time to wait while repairs are completed.

 

My first encounter with serious repentance was like the example above. I had a few key things I wanted to repent of, be freed from, and be forgiven of. When that didn't happen the way I wanted I gave up and it was years before I reached the point of trying again.

 

Eventually I reached the point to where I said,

 

“Heavenly Father, I don’t want to sin anymore. I’ve confessed and forsaken them. I’m so sorry. Please, forgive me.”

 

“Father, I’m finally willing to go all the way. I understand now that it’s all or nothing. Whatever I have to forsake, whatever I have to do, whatever I have to change, however much it may hurt, however long it make take, I don’t care. I’ll do it. Please! Save me!”

 

It was then and only then that I felt the power of the atonement flood my life. It was then that the chains of addiction were broken and I received a new heart. It was only when I offered my whole soul as an offering that my offering was sufficient.

 

The master mechanic knows the danger of a partial fix when what all of us need is a complete overhawl. Large or small in our eyes, all issues unaddressed will result in a fatality. Therefore he waits until we are truly willing to come to him.

 

In the real world the price is money of which many of us lack. In repentance the price is our whole heart, our whole soul as an offering.

 

I do not know what you were repenting of. I do not know how sincere your repentance was but I do know that when we repent the Lord forgives us.

 

There is a way back for you just as there was for me. I've been where you've been and traveled (travelling) the road you seek to take to return. A few years back I prayerfully wrote out my conversion story in the hopes that it would one day be of use to others. I invite and ask you to read the full account in hopes that the Lord will use what I've written to help you understand what he would have you do to be forgiven.

 

My prayer is with you,

 

Sincerely,

Martain

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It is never too late to repent.

 

Start my expressing what you have said here in prayer.

 

Sometimes that hardest part of repentance is forgiving yourself, just because you can be forgiven doesn't mean you will forget. Use those memories to build a brighter better future by learning from your mistakes, striving to repeat them no more, and helping others not to make the same mistakes. Every step forward counts, even if you occasionally stumble or take a step back.

 

Pray, it is probably the most important thing that you can do, even if all you can do is hope to believe

 

"Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. 24And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." Mark 9 23-24

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The truth is that I want to believe/hope but I have made so many mistakes that I may have convinced myself that there simply isn't a way back anymore.  I've not done anything that could hinder my membership and have even spoken to my bishop a few times.  In each case, I suppose I never felt that God truly forgave me for what I've done in the past and so I would soon slip back into my old sins again.  Somehow, by making these mistakes again, I felt it would justify why I don't feel like God is concerned about me anymore.

 

There were times in my life where I know God stepped in to help/answer prayers and so amazing were these cases that I feel that due to my mistakes, God will never be able to trust me again.  When you come to this point in life, it's easy to just sit back and say, "what's the point of even trying?"

 

I would really like to become the person I once was but I'm so ashamed that I've failed and know longer believe that there is a road back.  As such, I just now go through the motions.

 

I don't presume to know your situation, but to me it sounds a little bit like an excuse to continue in the sin that you love.  Do you still love the sins that you've committed?  If you do pray to God that you might grow to not love them.  If you are concerned that it is too hard to overcome sin . . . . sometimes overcoming sin can take a very long time.  God looks upon the heart, He knows us so well, He knows what makes us tick, our faults, our hopes, our desires.  He will help us overcome sin, once we give it to Him and acknowledge that we cannot do it on our own.  Strip ourselves bare before Him and He will help us.

 

If you need anything further about God trusting you, listen to Christ's words:

 

" O ye people of these great cities which have fallen, who are descendants of Jacob, yea, who are of the house of Israel, how oft have I gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and have nourished you.

 And again, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, who have fallen; yea, O ye people of the house of Israel, ye that dwell at Jerusalem, as ye that have fallen; yea, how oft would I have gathered you as a hen gathereth her chickens, and ye would not.

 O ye house of Israel whom I have spared, how oft will I gather you as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, if ye will repent and return unto me with full purpose of heart."

 

His arms are always open, do we take His hand?  That is our decision.

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I watched this recently and when you posted I remembered it and thought id share it with you and everyone else. 

You say you feel there is no way back there is always a way back the price has already been paid.

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There is always a way back my friend, but it typically involves moving forward.

 

Sounds a bit like a contradiction in terms, but allow me to explain.

 

In your initial post you wrote that you "...would really like to become the person (you once were)...", and I can understand that, I truly can. In my own spiritual walk I have found myself apparently far away from the person I once was. Yet when I stop and take a long, hard look at that person I see someone in desperate need of change...I see a person who was still young in his faith, a person living his faith exteriorly yet yearning for that interior communication and light I so desperately needed. I see the person who prayed long and hard for the conviction that seemed to elude me, for the type of relationship I just knew I could have with God but for whatever reason did not seem to be there.

 

My prayers those many years ago have been in the process of being answered over the course of the past few years. I can look back at the painful memories of almost walking away from God, of having so much doubt and indecision it seemed almost painful...yet of still practicing my faith, albeit on the outside. That is not the type of person God has called us to be. He knows exactly what you need, well in advance of when you will need it. He knew you would experience doubt and indecision (as he knew I would as well) and, in my case at least, allowed me to wander through arid deserts...much as he allowed Moses and his people to wander for forty years.

 

My point is this: the fact that you are posting to this forum is a sign. And not just a sign but a blessing. It is a step in the direction Our Lord has always intended for you to go. It is a movement; perhaps partial at first, perhaps even one that you will back-track on, move forward again, back again and then forward...but rest assured, if you place your trust in Him and keep your eyes on your heavenly reward He will not fail you. He cannot.

 

Regarding the "mechanics" of your faith such as reading scripture, praying, etc; I call them mechanics because they are things that one can learn. To be sure there is a noble, spiritual, God-centered aspect to this but the actions themselves are still mechanical, meaning simply that they are actions one can come to appreciate more by simply doing them day in and day out. Allow yourself the blessed simplicity of 'offering', as it were, this dryness you may be feeling, perhaps a lack of a sense of "otherness" or "mystery". It's okay to feel this way. Keep on practicing these "mechanics" and stay true to this practice, allowing God to work and move in you through what remains: simple love and trust.

 

I have experienced this myself, and on more than one occasion. I hope that my own experiences might prove beneficial to you during this time of need. Feel free to reach out to me to discuss personally if you like, I'm happy to help.

 

Blessings.

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