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Floridagal

Crossroads of faith, advice welcome.

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Very new here, been in the church about a year and a half.

 

I will do my best not to draw this out, but I feel I should give a little background. I was raised pentecostal (my parents didn;t attend, my ggrandmother and grandparents had me in church every sunday). We're talking deep south, intense, holy rolling pentecostal in a little church in the woods. (this was the '70s but more like the 20's.)

I got a lot of the 'your parents will be in hell cause they don't attend,' and 'you ask too many questions, you know too much about the Bible for your age so you must have evil in you' I read a lot, and actually read the Bible at a young age and had a few spiritual experiences but overall got tired of hearing I was evil because I wanted to know who cain married-etc. So I stopped going.

 

Fast forward teenage years still interested in theology, studied many different religions, origins of Christianity, western occultism, paganism etc. Grew up, got married, had kids, decided I liked the way Judaism looked so we went to a synagogue for a couple years-that ended badly. (couldn't get over the whole Jesus thing!) I was religion-less for awhile but always, always searching and always felt led to some form of Christianity despite all my reading about the origins of Christianity, etc. (basically I was reading enough to make me feel stupid for being a believer but not enough to convince me that Jesus wasn't the Son of God.)

 

So I have always been a huge genealogy buff and in fact my grandmother was a professional and worked very closely with the church. I made a genealogical breakthrough a couple years ago and found I am descended from Mormon Pioneers and felt a big 'click'. I study the BOM and meet with missionaries with my husband and kids and I find what I instinctively felt and knew about Heavenly father, afterlife, Jesus, are all part of the LDS faith. So we join. Everything is great in our ward-great people (a few annoyances but nothing bad) we feel loved but because of this , that and the other we haven't been to church in a few months and I want to get back but it's like I have a mental roadblock.

 

Now it feels like I am battling pride or something.

I feel like I can't give myself completely over to belief because of the most ridiculous reason: I will feel conquered. Yep, I will feel like I have betrayed my old Norse, fighting Irish, Native American roots by completely letting go of that fighting spirit and 'be conquered'. Now when you all stop laughing and eyerolling, understand I am as stumped by this feeling as you! :) It's like I just can't relax. Yet within all this I still don't think I have lost my testimony. I don't question if Joseph Smith was a Prophet or anything. I don't question the BOM in any BIG way. Yet I have this part of me that holds back.

Now it may be from some physical and mental abuse in my background that I could never let my guard down and I feel like I can't let it down and have total faith in God, I don't know.

I guess I am asking if anyone else can relate to that last bit of fighting pride.

THanks for reading this far!

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So glad you shared. I'm trying to convince myself that what I have felt is the same as you, but I'm uncertain. In my shoes, I would see it as fear. I learned "action cures fear", a chapter title of a favorite sales motivation book. I practice it as often as I find myself shrinking away from something I know I should do. It can be as simple as a phone call...'move out of the chair' is the first action that melts the fear of picking up the phone.

 

I think you will find that whatever wall you imagine in front of you will melt away as you move toward it. It is really your only option of reactivating yourself. Get up on Sunday morning and get dressed and move to the car and walk through the church doors. I think you will be pleasantly surprised. People are going to love you. I often suggest inviting over your Relief Society President just to get a feel for the landscape.

 

The culture you face in Florida is far different than many in the forum can imagine. I'm sure the cliques there are far tighter than most wards and people that far out in "the mission field" are often untrained/unskilled in church administration. Still, the gospel is true and people should ignore your absence and welcome you in. Just take that step.  Good luck!

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My parents served a mission to Florida 15 or 20 years ago. My mother was scared to death about it -- I think she was hoping to serve in the Utah Salt Lake City mission -- but she returned raving about her missionary experiences, and with a real love for Floridians. It was inspiring to see. For the most part, my parents were treated very well, so that makes me like Florida and its inhabitants better. :)

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Guest MormonGator

My parents served a mission to Florida 15 or 20 years ago. My mother was scared to death about it -- I think she was hoping to serve in the Utah Salt Lake City mission -- but she returned raving about her missionary experiences, and with a real love for Floridians. It was inspiring to see. For the most part, my parents were treated very well, so that makes me like Florida and its inhabitants better. :)

 It's because we Floridans ARE the greatest Vort. You didn't know that?  :D

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Hi Floridagal, 

 

I don't know any magical solution to your situation, but perhaps sharing my experience will help.

 

 

I too went through some abuse in my background.  Like you, I did eventually find healing in the Lord, through the Mormon church.  Things were great for a little while and then... I had this itch I couldn't shake.  I just felt like I had to keep moving, had to keep fighting, had to keep struggling, else... to be still felt like it was death or something.

 

Eventually I realized that I had been fighting for so long, I didn't understand what "peace" was... and what a strange concept it was!  You want me to be happy?  And not expect the some boulders to fall out of the sky and ruin my day?  This place... it's a home... a place I can stay and be happy and safe?  What is that?  It was all so foreign...

 

So I undertook a quest: to learn about "peace" and "home", and maybe feel them in my own heart.  It took a while, but I did eventually learn about "home", "safe", and (surprisingly) "sovereignty".  Because one of those deep fears I had, is that if I stopped fighting, that I would just become a stagnant pawn in the system-- that by accepting Christ as my King, I would loose my hard fought autonomy and my identity.... but it's not like that... and I'm struggling now to express that magnificent difference in words... 

 

Christ is my king, but I am no pawn.  It is *essential* to God's plan that I have a choice in every little thing.  I study Him and His words, trying to emulate Him, but not in any fashion that makes me a borg drone.  Rather, I strive to emulate His deeper qualities of love, forgiveness, wisdom, etc.  And that... that makes me a greater person than I could ever be without Him at the helm.  Surrendering myself to Him was the greatest move towards true independence I have ever made.

Edited by Jane_Doe

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Hi Floridagal, 

 

I don't know any magical solution to your situation, but perhaps sharing my experience will help.

 

 

I too went through some abuse in my background.  Like you, I did eventually find healing in the Lord, through the Mormon church.  Things were great for a little while and then... I had this itch I couldn't shake.  I just felt like I had to keep moving, had to keep fighting, had to keep struggling, else... to be still felt like it was death or something.

 

Eventually I realized that I had been fighting for so long, I didn't understand what "peace" was... and what a strange concept it was!  You want me to be happy?  And not expect the some boulders to fall out of the sky and ruin my day?  This place... it's a home... a place I can stay and be happy and safe?  What is that?  It was all so foreign...

 

So I undertook a quest: to learn about "peace" and "home", and maybe feel them in my own heart.  It took a while, but I did eventually learn about "home", "safe", and (surprisingly) "sovereignty".  Because one of those deep fears I had, is that if I stopped fighting, that I would just become a stagnant pawn in the system-- that by accepting Christ as my King, I would loose my hard fought autonomy and my identity.... but it's not like that... and I'm struggling now to express that magnificent difference in words... 

 

Christ is my king, but I am no pawn.  It is *essential* to God's plan that I have a choice in every little thing.  I study Him and His words, trying to emulate Him, but not in any fashion that makes me a borg drone.  Rather, I strive to emulate His deeper qualities of love, forgiveness, wisdom, etc.  And that... that makes me a greater person than I could ever be without Him at the helm.  Surrendering myself to Him was the greatest move towards true independence I have ever made.

THIS! Yes, you have described it perfectly! It does feel like I will lose the me I fought for so strongly-it does feel like boulders will fall out of the sky. Yes, this is it. And you have really helped me with this post. thank you.

Thanks for all the responses so far, I appreciate all the kind words!

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I needed Jane_Doe's perspective to understand your issue. Thanks for confirming that.

 

I have always seen God as part of me and not foreign or controlling. The gospel is part of me. Understanding the gospel is understanding myself. If you are concerned about participation in the Church as controlling your life, maybe my perspective will help.

 

I don't get bogged down in "church" definitions (i.e. I separate church and gospel). The church is a means of administering the gospel and therefore necessary, but I don't define myself by the church. In other words, I don't give in to all the political struggles within a ward. I don't sweat people's perception of if I am a good "Mormon". I seek to be at peace with my participation in the gospel, not church.

 

Having said that... I am a good Mormon. I do fully participate, hold a temple recommend, have a calling, and do my visiting teaching, etc. I do it because it brings me joy and like I said, the Church is where the gospel is administered and I want the Church to be successful. But, I'm not going to let what goes on in a building dictate my happiness or my relationship to Heavenly Father.

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I needed Jane_Doe's perspective to understand your issue. Thanks for confirming that.

 

I have always seen God as part of me and not foreign or controlling. The gospel is part of me. Understanding the gospel is understanding myself. If you are concerned about participation in the Church as controlling your life, maybe my perspective will help.

 

I don't get bogged down in "church" definitions (i.e. I separate church and gospel). The church is a means of administering the gospel and therefore necessary, but I don't define myself by the church. In other words, I don't give in to all the political struggles within a ward. I don't sweat people's perception of if I am a good "Mormon". I seek to be at peace with my participation in the gospel, not church.

 

Having said that... I am a good Mormon. I do fully participate, hold a temple recommend, have a calling, and do my visiting teaching, etc. I do it because it brings me joy and like I said, the Church is where the gospel is administered and I want the Church to be successful. But, I'm not going to let what goes on in a building dictate my happiness or my relationship to Heavenly Father.

Thank you for this. :) Sometimes I do think 'so and so at Church  probably doesn't think I am a good Mormon' and I am trying to not let that color my perception of myself or my calling or place in the Church. I am slowly getting over a lot of self judgment and that voice of 'I'm not good enough' can often be pretty loud!

 I have been thinking deeper on it since I started this thread and I do believe it has something to do with being roughed up a lot in the past and feeling very little love as a child...and yes, there was a lot of fighting and sometimes it's hard to let that go and as Jane Doe mentioned to find or feel peace-that's hard! 

and maybe I am waiting for the next 'shoe to drop' or that I will let my guard down and be made a fool of or something of that nature.

Again, thanks for responding and I am feeling like I am sorting this out bit by bit.

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Sometimes I do think 'so and so at Church  probably doesn't think I am a good Mormon' and I am trying to not let that color my perception of myself or my calling or place in the Church.

 

We often think that people are thinking badly of us, when in fact for the most part they are not thinking of us at all. It's almost a sort of reverse pride, where we still think the world revolves around us, but instead of being the hero, we cast ourselves as the villain. Sometimes it's useful to realize that people don't spend much time thinking about us, and when they do, most people aren't wasting their time finding fault. Probably more like they want to know if we will be willing to substitute in Nursery on Sunday. :)

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Just wanted to update: I have done some scripture reading every day this week and went to church yesterday and I feel so much better, overall. I am making an effort to remind myself that by having a strong faith I am not losing ME I am developing better aspects of myself.

So overall I am feeling better and I do appreciate all the input.

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