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How Am I Different?

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I was left really off-balance when a relative left the church some time ago.  The reason why this one made such a big impact on me is that in many ways I was just like her.  There were some questions about the faith.  There were questions about what the Spirit felt like.  We had many of the same weaknesses.  There were aspects, traits, and histories that were similar in both our backgrounds.  And our personalities were very similar.

 

She spent the last six months of "enduring" going to the temple almost every day it was open.  Praying.  Sometimes she'd do multiple sessions in a day.  She said she had gained a testimony long ago.  But then she had lost it in recent years.  Maybe she found it was too hard.  Maybe she lost sight.  I don't know.  But she's pretty much gone.

 

I've spent the last few months now wondering what changed.  I wondered why it didn't happen to me.  I wondered why I'm still strong and she went off the deep end.  (I really mean she purposefully took a flying leap off the deep end.)  We were so similar in many ways.  Why did I not make the same leap?

 

Some differences that give me hope are: 

 

#1: I love my wife with a tenderness and a depth that I can never express to her in words.  She (the relative) didn't ever feel that passion for her husband. My love for my wife has kept me from doing many things that would take me down the wrong path.  But the interesting thing was that she said she decided to marry him because she was sure he could take her to the Celestial Kingdom.  And on his side, she was right.  He's about -- actually strike that.  He IS the most stalwart man I've ever met.  And this recent trial almost broke him.  They are now divorced.

 

#2: I generally went to the right people for advice and counsel and a shoulder to cry on.  She went to the wrong kind of people.

 

#3: I have learned an awful lot more in doctrine, reasoning, and understanding of the Lord and His ways.  She was pretty much a newbie.

 

I wonder if this is enough.  In a sense it is good for me to ponder this.  It makes me more vigilant.  But it is disconcerting at the same time.

Edited by Guest

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She spent the last six months of "enduring" going to the temple almost every day it was open.  Praying.  Sometimes she'd do multiple sessions in a day.  

 

 

Sigh.  

 

Perhaps she should have considered entering into a convent. 

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I have come to the conclusion that absolutely no one is like me. Sure some people may be 6'3. Some may be as spiritual, or as devastatingly handsome as I am. Some may even have my character flaws while being similar in many ways. However, no one has lived a day in my shoes, even if they were with me the entire day. They would not have the same thought process, because they haven't been me. 

 

Early on when I joined the forum someone (pretty sure it was Annatess) told me something along the lines of "How do you know? Were you there every second of every day of their lives?" and it changed me forever (Thanks by the way Annatess). How could I possibly know anything, I mean really know anything about anyone? Especially well enough to make any type of judgement call? Not even my wife. The only person I know well enough is me.

 

Back to your post, it may look like, and even feel like you and the other person were so similar. But there is no way you could have been. Every second that you have lived makes up who you are, from birth till now. Now, how many seconds did you two really live the same? How many of those seconds were spiritual or uplifting and how were they received? I am a complete individual, who perhaps shares in common many things with others, but I am in no way like anyone else. This has helped me immensely and reminded me not to judge anyone, for anything. 

Edited by EarlJibbs

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Guest

I understand the shake-up. My brother who left the church a couple of years ago is just older than me, and married one of my best friends. When I learned that they were not only leaving, but hostile, it really threw me for awhile. It made me question what I believe, which ended up being good, because my testimony has only been solidified.

 

One thing I did, at my wise husband's counsel, was choose one of their gripes with the church and studied it. So I chose the one that seemed to make my SIL most angry, and read up on it (though not the anti- telling of it. . . FAIR, lds.org, etc.) I was satisfied with what I found, and saw how easily it could be twisted into something it wasn't, if someone wanted it to look bad. Of course other questions have come up, but I take them one by one and like I said, I'm just more solid in my faith. 

 

The fact that she went to the temple so frequently would shake me, too. My brother and his (soon to be ex) wife hadn't gone in a long time, and hadn't done a lot of the other Sunday school things, either. But as EarlJibbs pointed out, we don't know your cousin's state of mind, purpose, heart, etc. when she was in the temple. We don't know what answers she did or didn't find. We just know that the influence of the adversary seems to have won out in this particular battle. 

 

You just know about where you are, and what questions you have, and what you feel and know. Don't make her experience yours. No matter how similar you may seem, you are still unique spirits with your own experiences and strengths and weaknesses. 

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#1: I love my wife with a tenderness and a depth that I can never express to her in words.  

 

Hats off to you for this! I gave a talk to the Stake Activity Day girls not too long ago about the blessing of being married. While I did mention the children aspect of it all, I focused a lot on the push/pull relationship of a wife and husband carrying each other to the eternal finish line. Not one carrying the other all the time, but both working together to the end. 

 

I find wonderful wisdom in the great eternal plan to require there be a sealed husband and wife to reach all that the father hath. 

 

“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” -  Aristotle

 

This single soul has a far greater potential to be strong enough to fight off life's storms and to make it to the end, and I am sure our Father planned this.  

Edited by NeedleinA

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I was left really off-balance when a relative left the church some time ago.  The reason why this one made such a big impact on me is that in many ways I was just like her.  There were some questions about the faith.  There were questions about what the Spirit felt like.  We had many of the same weaknesses.  There were aspects, traits, and histories that were similar in both our backgrounds.  And our personalities were very similar.

 

She spent the last six months of "enduring" going to the temple almost every day it was open.  Praying.  Sometimes she'd do multiple sessions in a day.  She said she had gained a testimony long ago.  But then she had lost it in recent years.  Maybe she found it was too hard.  Maybe she lost sight.  I don't know.  But she's pretty much gone.

 

I've spent the last few months now wondering what changed.  I wondered why it didn't happen to me.  I wondered why I'm still strong and she went off the deep end.  (I really mean she purposefully took a flying leap off the deep end.)  We were so similar in many ways.  Why did I not make the same leap?

 

Some differences that give me hope are: 

 

#1: I love my wife with a tenderness and a depth that I can never express to her in words.  She (the relative) didn't ever feel that passion for her husband. My love for my wife has kept me from doing many things that would take me down the wrong path.  But the interesting thing was that she said she decided to marry him because she was sure he could take her to the Celestial Kingdom.  And on his side, she was right.  He's about -- actually strike that.  He IS the most stalwart man I've ever met.  And this recent trial almost broke him.  They are now divorced.

 

#2: I generally went to the right people for advice and counsel and a shoulder to cry on.  She went to the wrong kind of people.

 

#3: I have learned an awful lot more in doctrine, reasoning, and understanding of the Lord and His ways.  She was pretty much a newbie.

 

I wonder if this is enough.  In a sense it is good for me to ponder this.  It makes me more vigilant.  But it is disconcerting at the same time.

 

 

I really like your post, but disagree with your premise that you to are exactly alike.

 

1)  When confront with questions, you researched and prayed.  Did she?

2)  You nurtured your testimony and kept a close eye on it.  Did she?

3)  She went to the temple daily, but did she welcome the Lord into her heart?  Just going to the temple does not make you a saint, God does.  Her describing it as "enduring" suggests that she was cringing, not welcoming.

4)  The wise choice in support system (you touched on this).

5)  Ultimately when the choice came to "Do I jump or not?", she said yes, and you said "no way".

 

Yes, a loss of testimony can happen to any of us, and we should be diligent.  

Edited by Jane_Doe

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...Some may be as spiritual, or as devastatingly handsome as I am. 

 

Now, we all know that's impossible. :rainfro:

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Carborendum,
This is indeed a sad story. From your description of your relative, it sounds to me like there is a fundamental difference between you and her, despite whatever similarities may exist on the surface. In your post, example #1 of differences seems quite telling... When you say she married someone she was sure could take her to the Celestial kingdom that sounds to me like she was making a right choice but possibly for the wrong reason. Now, don't get me wrong... Probably most of us are guilty of this quite often. We'd all be lost if it weren't for the transformative power of the atonement which can work upon each of us if we seek and continue to seek after the Savior. So... Why did she marry a man who could take her to the Celestial kingdom? Was it because she thought he'd take her there no matter what? Will any of us be dragged into a kingdom of glory? Will any of us be forced to grow or change our hearts against our will? If we go through the motions enough, will that, in and of itself, transform us? So.. Maybe she thought she'd marry a man and learn to love him...? There's nothing inherently wrong with that... Unless she just did it thinking that would be enough. Did the Spirit prompt her to do it? If so... did she continue to seek and learn how that love might be nurtured and what she might do to encourage its growth .. Or did she think she'd "arrived" once she was married in the temple.. and then gradually become disillusioned when it began to dawn on her that life wasn't turning out to be the fairytale she'd thought it was going to be?

Ok.. So if I'm way off in my assessment then I'm sorry. I hope your relative comes to herself.. In whatever that may entail.. I hope that her life may become more than just a cautionary tale for someone else.. If President Heber J. Grant can pray, "bless me that I might not lose my testimony.. " that tells me that none of us are immune to the fiery darts of the adversary and that we must continually seek the Lord that our testimonies may continue to grow and not slip away from us. We must also nurture our love especially for our spouse.. In the same manner that Saint-Exupéry's little prince nourished the flower that became special to him. If we don't our love will surely wilt just like a neglected flower. Or it may become indistinguishable from other flowers which could then tempt us to wander from what once was special to us .. In such manner are both testimonies and spouses lost.

Edited by theSQUIDSTER

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Clarify?

It appears to me that she cloistered herself from the world, hoping that would resolve her spiritual issues.  In effect, the temple became her convent.

 

I think she would have had better results working with the YM activities, serving at a food bank, Cub Scout volunteer, active in the PTA, etc.

 

When a person focuses so much on their inner daemons, it becomes unhealthy.  Let's call it  "spiritual suicide" -- you're dead but don't know it.

Edited by cdowis

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Two people may seem the same on the outside, same clothes, walk and talk the same, go to the same activities, like all the same things, but what about the inside.

They can be 100% different on the inside.

But the bottom line, mostly is the choice a person makes.  Like you say, she chose the wrong advisers, the wrong support group.

It's what's on the inside, and the choices made.

dc

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Guest

Two people may seem the same on the outside, same clothes, walk and talk the same, go to the same activities, like all the same things, but what about the inside.

They can be 100% different on the inside.

But the bottom line, mostly is the choice a person makes.  Like you say, she chose the wrong advisers, the wrong support group.

It's what's on the inside, and the choices made.

dc

 

I knew her well enough that I can say we were a lot alike on the inside too.  That's what makes me wonder why I made some choices and she made others that were major game changers.

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Guest LiterateParakeet

 

I wonder if this is enough.  In a sense it is good for me to ponder this.  It makes me more vigilant.  But it is disconcerting at the same time.

 

I agree that it is good for you to ponder it and be vigilant.  None of us is "safe" from possibly falling away, we need to be ever vigilant.

 

I can relate to your question though.  I wonder the same thing...so many of my friends have fallen away, and though I came very close myself, I worked through it.  How was I able to do that and they weren't?  I wish I knew so I could help them.

 

If it helps, one thing I've realized that helped me was the foundation that was established before the 'spiritual earthquake' that flattened me, and required me to rebuild.  So many things that felt like "aha" moments as I was rebuilding, were things that I have actually always known--in my head.  Now I know them in my heart.   The things that kept me holding on in the midst of swirling doubts?  Again foundation.  

 

I remember when Elder Eyring gave his talk Mountains to Climb...I was in a bad place and couldn't appreciate his talk at the time....but when I read it now, I love it.  He's so right about the foundation that sees you through.  So my plan going forward is to keep working on that foundation, so that I can get through whatever is to come next (everyone pray the worst has past for me, Okay?  I'm so done . . . ) 

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Guest MormonGator

I agree that it is good for you to ponder it and be vigilant.  None of us is "safe" from possibly falling away, we need to be ever vigilant.

 

I can relate to your question though.  I wonder the same thing...so many of my friends have fallen away, and though I came very close myself, I worked through it.  How was I able to do that and they weren't?  I wish I knew so I could help them.

 

If it helps, one thing I've realized that helped me was the foundation that was established before the 'spiritual earthquake' that flattened me, and required me to rebuild.  So many things that felt like "aha" moments as I was rebuilding, were things that I have actually always known--in my head.  Now I know them in my heart.   The things that kept me holding on in the midst of swirling doubts?  Again foundation.  

 

I remember when Elder Eyring gave his talk Mountains to Climb...I was in a bad place and couldn't appreciate his talk at the time....but when I read it now, I love it.  He's so right about the foundation that sees you through.  So my plan going forward is to keep working on that foundation, so that I can get through whatever is to come next (everyone pray the worst has past for me, Okay?  I'm so done . . . ) 

 I love this. 

You had a time of crisis spiritually but you fought through it. I wish a lot of members did this.

Not trying to sound harsh, but in the end if you leave the church, you are only hurting yourself. 

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