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Eternum

Fates worse than death

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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.

Edited by Eternum

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Sometimes the best thing you can do is let it all out.  At the end of the day, this is between you and Heavenly Father.

Does the Church have a rapidly spreading cancer?  Let's table that for now.

Do you 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?  

If the answer to that is no, then whether or not the Church has a cancer is irrelevant.  You need to regain your testimony.

If the answer to that is yes, then that's awesome.  Now we can go to the next step.

The natural man is imperfect.  Society is falling further from Heavenly Father, and that without a doubt is bleeding into all aspects of society, to include The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  That doesn't, however, mean all Saints.  I truly believe the majority of Saints we meet are just trying to be the best person they can be in the image of Christ.  However, we all fall short at times.  I know I do.  I bet you do, too.  

That's what makes this individual.  The Church needs you, you need the Church.  Why?  Because He wants us to need it.  He wants us to serve each other.  He wants us to gather.  You need to go to Church, and follow the covenants YOU made with HIM.  You need to do this because in the blink of an eye you'll be facing eternity.  You want to be the best disciple you can be.  

What other members are, or are not, doing is not relevant to you.  You need to do what YOU need to be doing.  

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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.

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First of all... BIG HUGS to you Eternum.  This may sound as just platitudes but I do believe with all my heart that God loves you and has a plan for you, even if it's nowhere near evident what that is.

One of the first things that came to my head after reading your entire post is "You've made the first step in Jordan Peterson's Self-Authoring Class".  Then I thought, hmm... maybe what you need is not to go back to Church but to finish the rest of the Self-Authoring class... THEN go back to Church.  So, I looked up how one could get the class and found out you need to pay for it now.  Shucks.

Anyway, in my opinion (and please keep in mind, I'm nowhere close to being a professional counselor), I think you can greatly benefit from my motto of - I can't control what other people do, I can only control how I react to them.  So, one of the Self-Authoring concepts is that instead of exhausting our efforts to change other people's stupidity, we can go the route of accepting that other people are stupid and work that into our plan for ourselves.  So, the objective is to get to a point where we don't much concern ourselves with things that won't be able to change our path forward (things we can't control, like trying to change your stepfather's narcissistic tendencies which is not in your control but in your stepfather's control) but concentrate on getting ourselves on a path that goes towards our goals (things we can control, like how you can avoid being a victim of your stepfather's narcissistic tendencies).  

So, the general idea is, you deal with 3 phases of your life at a time.  1.) Past, 2.) Present, 3.) Future.  You write down (author) every single thing in the past that has made you who you are in the present (experiences that has shaped you.  This is in the past so it's things that you can't change anymore.  What weaknesses resulted from it, what strengths and virtues you gained from your experiences), then describe what is your situation in the present (who you are today, what are weaknesses you can work on, what are strengths and virtues you can further develop and use as your assets), then describe who you want to be the future - near future.  Like 3 years from now future.  Then you're going to try to put the past to rest (Let it Be since you can't change it anymore) and then bridge the present to your future to create an action plan - writing down, every single step by little step what you believe can get you from where you are in your present to who you want to be in your future knowing that you can only act on things you can control and have to stop things outside of your control (like your stepfather, your bishop, your ministering sisters, etc.) from holding you back from your path forward.  Just write it all down.  Don't worry if it's possible or not.  Just write it down like you wrote down all of your past above.  And it would be really good if while you're writing all this, you can seek God's help, stopping once in a while to pray to God for inspiration.

Then maybe... just maybe... you'll see a light forward and be able to let go or ignore the darkness.  Then maybe... you can actually start putting one foot forward...

Anyway, I'm just another random anonymous poster on the internet.  But it's my wish that I've at least given you just a bit of hope for a brighter future.

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14 hours ago, Eternum said:

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.

Eternum,

I am very sympathetic to your plight.  I feel great sorrow for you in your situation.  If you were in my ward, I'd like try and help in any way I could.  Your background story pains my soul to hear.  And I'm so sorry for all you've had to endure.

It is difficult to have so many trials in your life.  And it is natural to believe and hope -- even expect -- that a church family will be there to take care of you in time of need and even replace the family that you never really had.  I'll continue to pray for you that you will be able to realize that dream in time for you to have hope in this life.

It seem so sad that people have apparently kept their distance.  It even seems like, instead of being sympathetic, they're even looking down their noses at you.  That is simply not acceptable from the Saints of God.  We are supposed to help the needy.  Feed the hungry.  Clothe the naked.  Visit those in prison.  Care for the sick.  And you just don't seem to be seeing much of that.

You're now simply on your own.  This is not a comfortable position to be in for anyone.  No one likes being alone.  Everyone should have a friend.

Now, I'd ask you to see it from their side.  With the following explanation, I only have your posts on this forum.  So, the reality may be different.  But this is what I've pieced together from your posts -- that's all I've got.

People in your ward don't know you.  I don't mean about your background.  You've apparently spoken of that quite often.  It's that they need to really get to know you and how you live your life currently in order to figure out the best way to help you in your situation.  But to do that, they need to really know you.  You have to take the steps to allow people to get to know you.

That is:  know YOU.  Not your problems.  Not your history.  Not your trials.  But they need to know YOU. 

YOU ARE NOT THE SUM TOTAL OF YOUR PROBLEMS.  YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD.  

True you've had many trials.  And I'm NOT saying you don't have a right to say you've had it pretty bad.  What I'm saying is that you've allowed all of this to define who you are.  Do you believe that if you tell everyone about your past, that they'rE getting to know who YOU really are?  If so, that means you're defining yourself by your tragedies.  As long as you define yourself this way, then you're allowing all the people in your past to continue to have power over you today.  You keep letting them win.  Stop that. 

I'm not a counselor or psychiatrist.  So, I don't know how to advise you on how to get through that.  But until you do, they will still have power over you.  That much I do know.  Once you get over all that, you'll find out just how much of your health was actually due to spiritual/emotional reasons rather than physical.  Then you can tackle whatever physical maladies remain.

I'm sending big hugs from here.  I hope and pray the best for you.

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On 8/11/2019 at 9:29 PM, BeccaKirstyn said:

Hi, @Eternum. Forgive me if I have interpreted your story incorrectly. You said you were in therapy in the past--have you continued that? Or have you considered going again if you are not currently doing so?

 

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.

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1 hour ago, Eternum said:

"my psychological training is pretty solid."

Eternum, may I ask what official clinical diagnoses you've been given by medical professionals? Also, I notice that there is no mention of drugs or alcohol in your post. Are you free from these habits?

In all my years of working in the Church, whether in downtown Camden, NJ or in SLC, UT, and in working with small poverty-stricken branches and large very wealthy wards, I have never seen the members and leaders act as badly as you describe. Problems, yes. Rampant and methodically organized bullying, no, not ever. But I have worked with people who saw it that way - and most of them could have written your story and described their lives as "going upside down and sideways" just like you.

I echo Jane_Doe's comments above: A good therapist is a good thing. You need help. Create some circumstances in your life that provide some stability and begin getting some help. And stick to it without excuses because it may take years to make progress. But you can make progress. And when you do, you may see the things a little differently. It always starts with fixing ourselves, not others.

May the Lord strengthen you in your difficult journey.

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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?

Edited by Eternum

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@Eternum, I made no attempt to twist your words. My post was made out of concern for your situation. There is quite a bit of criticism of church members and leaders in your post and those words were my own interpretation.

I have no idea whether you've used drugs or alcohol. That's why I asked - it makes a big difference when evaluating what physical, spiritual, or psychological help a person needs.

As for the rest of your post I'm not certain to what you were responding. Abuse is not something that any of us on this forum would ever joke about.

Again, I truly hope you can find some help and peace in your life as you move forward.

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Wow, just wow.  I feel bad that you have had a hard life.  Sounds like you are an adult now, and can make decisions on  your own.  Decisions that will let you choose a happy path.  Disassociate with those who adversely affect you.  Associate with those who lift you up.  I know your life has probably sucked now.  You can choose to make it not suck.  So do it.  

Don't worry about bishops/stake presidents/step parents, etc.  Worry about yourself.  Your covenants are not with the church.  They are between you and God.  Let God worry about the church.  You worry about you.  

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On ‎8‎/‎18‎/‎2019 at 2:02 PM, clwnuke said:

Eternum, may I ask what official clinical diagnoses you've been given by medical professionals? Also, I notice that there is no mention of drugs or alcohol in your post. Are you free from these habits?

In all my years of working in the Church, whether in downtown Camden, NJ or in SLC, UT, and in working with small poverty-stricken branches and large very wealthy wards, I have never seen the members and leaders act as badly as you describe. Problems, yes. Rampant and methodically organized bullying, no, not ever. But I have worked with people who saw it that way - and most of them could have written your story and described their lives as "going upside down and sideways" just like you.

I echo Jane_Doe's comments above: A good therapist is a good thing. You need help. Create some circumstances in your life that provide some stability and begin getting some help. And stick to it without excuses because it may take years to make progress. But you can make progress. And when you do, you may see the things a little differently. It always starts with fixing ourselves, not others.

May the Lord strengthen you in your difficult journey.

I have.

The point that sticks out to me is that it appears that Eternum needed financial help.  Unfortunately, these days, the LDS church cannot be relied upon for financial help in many (most) cases where the need is extreme.  The Church just does NOT provide that type of money or funds to help the poor.  The church used to have some pretty good welfare systems in place, but that left the church at least 50 or more years ago.

It boils down to how generous ward members have been and how much they have in their budgets these days.  In many wards a Bishop has less than $1000 to help all of those who are in need, and in some areas, that's not even enough to cover rent.  Some Bishops help out of their own pockets, but even then, there's a limit to how much one can donate of their personal funds and be able to afford it.

Simply put, the Church is NOT the Catholic charities which provide a lot more (including in some areas, medical help) nor the charities of some of the other religions that spend a great deal more than the church. 

From what I can tell, what was needed was shelter and the payments of it, medical bill payments (that could go into the thousands of dollars, if not millions these days), medicine (also can get quite expensive) and food.  Of those, the Bishop might have been able to afford the food on the local budget. 

When one is in dire financial need and ask the church, and they do not get it, or are flat out refused...that can color a LOT of the rest of one's perceptions regarding the Bishop, the ward, and various other things.  Unfortunately, in many instances, it is not because the Bishop does not want to help, but they CANNOT help.  In addition, pushing the matter can put the Bishop in a bad light, and can even bring in higher Priesthood authority questioning how faithful or loyal that Bishop is.

Sometimes the Stake lends more money, but even then, there are limits on what they will grant or help with.  There is a limited amount that it can do for those who are poor or in need.  This can paint the church in a bad way for many of those who ask for help but do not get it.  This is just how the Church runs things these days.  It can help some who may ask for food or smaller items, but when massive bills come up, the church simply does not provide, nor have a way, for local leadership to help cover those bills.  It's probably not just that ward, almost no ward (unless the bishop is giving the money out of their own pocket or the stake president does) has the funds to cover a massively expensive medical bill or other things like that.

This is why I try to stress to people these days that they need to have a testimony of the GOSPEL.  They need to separate out that there is a difference between the Gospel and the Church.  There are those who would argue against this...obviously...but I try to impress this because of the simple fact that the Gospel is salvation and perfect in it's way it's is taught in the scriptures, while the Church is led by people and humans who are NOT perfect.  The Church itself, because it's leaders are not perfect can have many problems with it.  It is OKAY to recognize or have difficulties or see difficulties with the leaders and see others imperfections.  One needs to recognize that this is an imperfection with the people and the church in itself, but NOT the plan of salvation or of the gospel.

This is probably what I would stress to Eternum as well.  Most everything listed seems to be problems with various members and those in the church itself, but not specifically the Gospel that is taught in the scriptures or the plan of salvation.  AS such, 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.  The gospel itself is true, and if followed leads to salvation and eternal life.  Members cannot do that (and in some instances may even lead one further away from it...members are fallible and are not perfect).  Even in the darkest times, remember that the LORD loves us, even if we cannot see how it is at those times, and that he is perfect, as is his gospel. 

So, if nothing else, have a testimony of the Lord and his gospel, even if you cannot see it reflected in the Church or it's members.  Keep a testimony of the Gospel if nothing else.

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1 hour ago, JohnsonJones said:

This is why I try to stress to people these days that they need to have a testimony of the GOSPEL.  They need to separate out that there is a difference between the Gospel and the Church.

No. They do not need to do any such thing. The Church is the vehicle for the gospel—the ONLY vehicle for the gospel. No Church, no gospel. It's that simple. If you have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then by definition you have a testimony of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, aka the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

1 hour ago, JohnsonJones said:

There are those who would argue against this...obviously...but I try to impress this because of the simple fact that the Gospel is salvation and perfect in it's way it's is taught in the scriptures, while the Church is led by people and humans who are NOT perfect.

This is utterly, completely, totally, and in every other way absolutely wrong. The imperfections of the Church, either structurally or member-wise, are irrelevant.

When someone needs a house payment, he doesn't go to the gospel to get a loan. When someone is starving to death, he doesn't open the scriptures to feed his soul and imagine that will actually keep him alive.

You need to deeply rethink your attitude toward such things. You are profoundly wrong, even dangerously so.

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12 hours ago, Vort said:

No. They do not need to do any such thing. The Church is the vehicle for the gospel—the ONLY vehicle for the gospel. No Church, no gospel. It's that simple. If you have a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ, then by definition you have a testimony of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, aka the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

This is utterly, completely, totally, and in every other way absolutely wrong. The imperfections of the Church, either structurally or member-wise, are irrelevant.

When someone needs a house payment, he doesn't go to the gospel to get a loan. When someone is starving to death, he doesn't open the scriptures to feed his soul and imagine that will actually keep him alive.

You need to deeply rethink your attitude toward such things. You are profoundly wrong, even dangerously so.

As I said, some people will disagree.

MANY of those that I've seen who have asked to have their names taken off the rolls and otherwise, in many instances have had a HUGE testimony of the Church.  They were the type that always got up and said the Church was true.

However, that was the problem...it was ONLY of the Church that they had a testimony of.  When they found something troubling about the church, whether it was a problem with leadership, some perceived problem with policies, or some problem with the history...it is ALWAYS with the church.  When they have a testimony of "the Church" invariably, if they find something that doesn't match up to their idea of perfection...they fall away.

We only help people fall away from the church when we stress that a testimony of the church is what they need.  If we say, the church is perfect...then any leader that is not perfect, and policy which may not seem right, or any other factor in the church will tear away at that testimony.

On the otherhand, if one has a testimony of the gospel, all other things can fall into place.  It is similar to the idea that if you have a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, even if other things seem contrary, everything else can fall into place.  Unlike the Church, the gospel is eternal.  It does not change, no matter how much people want to change it. 

People think the church itself is the principles, the eternal standing item, the thing that has always been...

But the church is NOT eternal.  We recently had a thread on dispensations.  This church, as we know it, is only a vehicle.  It is something for our time, but it is a structure that carries the gospel.  As you noted, the Church brings the gospel.  However, it is a FALLACY to think that if the church ceases to exist the gospel ceases to exist.  It no more ceases to exist than it ceased to exist every other time a church that carried the gospel died.  The gospel did not disappear in Noah's time.  Noah still had the gospel.  The gospel did not disappear during the great apostasy...people merely forgot it's principles and ordinances.  The gospel itself is eternal.  It can no more disappear than the Lord disappearing.  Just as the Lord is eternal, so is the gospel.

Having a testimony of the Church as someone's foundation is  a shaky foundation.  Having a testimony of the gospel is a more sure foundation.  This is because the Church can change.  The leaders can change.  The leaders are imperfect.  Having a testimony as your foundation of something that is imperfect has led many to have that foundation crumble when something challenges their idea of what it should be or it's image of perfection.  As the gospel itself does not change, it is a far more sure foundation upon which to build.

A basic idea of the house, as we could call it (instead of the archway principle that many use).  If you have the foundation built upon the Book of Mormon and the scriptures, these are the core foundation of your testimony.  These do not change overnight or on a whim.  Upon this you can build other things.  On that you can then start the base of the house on that foundation with Joseph Smith and other principles.  Then you can build up the structure with the teachings of the prophets and the words of the modern day revelation.  You build it with the Spirit guiding you.  Then, you put up the walls and such and these can be myriad things with current policies and ideas of the church.  HOWEVER...if these ever fall...as your foundation is NOT built upon ever changing things of the present, but the gospel...you will still have a solid foundation even if the house burns.

This is why I rarely see those who have a testimony built upon the gospel (aka...the Book of Mormon and scriptures) fail, but I have seen myriads of those who build their testimony on the church itself rather than the foundation of the gospel, fall away when something changes or challenges the longstanding ideas of the church itself.

As you said, the Church is a vehicle, but it is NOT the gospel itself.  The vehicle transports it to us, but it is what is inside the vehicle, what it is carrying that is important to have a testimony of.  The vehicle itself is something constructed for us, but if something fails or goes wrong with the vehicle...that does not mean that what it is carrying is to be thrown away or forgotten.  If the church ceased to exist tomorrow, we would all still have the gospel and would still know the principles of which we are to live.  If you have a testimony of the gospel, all else should follow in accordance.

In regards to the OP, there is NO WAY I'm going to say they just have to swallow and take abuse from others because they have to have a testimony of that.  That's ridiculous.  When portions of the Church do not act in a Christ like manner, or something does not accord with the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is NO CALL for us or requirement to have any testimony of any such ridiculous thing.  These imperfections are things of men, and thougn not necessarily of the church as a whole, they are part of what composes the church.  In this instance, I would say to realize that these are imperfections.  We should realize that it is the GOSPEL that we need to have a testimony of.  The rest of these things, if they do not seem to be part of what the Lord taught or teaches, then we stick with the gospel over the imperfections of leaders, people, and members.  Read the Scriptures and prayer for guidance from the Holy Ghost.  Learn to forgive others and realize it is the principles of the gospel that cannot fail.  Men fail, and thus those in the church and even at times, certain policies in the church, can fail us.  Putting our strength and reliance upon men and their arrogance, or people's belief that they are infallible and perfect will many times lead to sadness, disappointment and sorrow.  In many instances one may be offended, hurt, or even (as with the OP) put in dangerous situations and problems.  This is NOT the Lords' way.  We need to recognize the difference between the vehicle and the message.  The church has no power in and of itself to save.

I think the OP has found that out.  It is important now to realize the difference of the vehicle and the true power of who can save us.  It is the Lord, Jesus Christ who saves us.  It is only him who has the ability to help us.  In this life, sometimes as it is a temporary thing, we have hardships that we do not overcome.  However, his promise is that if we stay faithful and true, that we can and will have eternal life in the hereafter.  That is the promise that we can hold onto hope for, even when this life seems to want to destroy us with all the fury of this world.  We can know that the Lord has something better for us in the life to come if we simply keep hold of our faith and believe in him.

Edited by JohnsonJones
adding the last portion to relate back on topic

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On 8/23/2019 at 4:40 PM, JohnsonJones said:

Simply put, the Church is NOT the Catholic charities which provide a lot more (including in some areas, medical help) nor the charities of some of the other religions that spend a great deal more than the church. 

From what I can tell, what was needed was shelter and the payments of it, medical bill payments (that could go into the thousands of dollars, if not millions these days), medicine (also can get quite expensive) and food.  Of those, the Bishop might have been able to afford the food on the local budget. 

When one is in dire financial need and ask the church, and they do not get it, or are flat out refused...that can color a LOT of the rest of one's perceptions regarding the Bishop, the ward, and various other things.  Unfortunately, in many instances, it is not because the Bishop does not want to help, but they CANNOT help.  In addition, pushing the matter can put the Bishop in a bad light, and can even bring in higher Priesthood authority questioning how faithful or loyal that Bishop is.

Church will pay rent for deserving individuals.  It is however at the discretion of The Bishop.  I live in the bay area, and I have seen several of my Bishops pay rents in the thousands of dollars per month for various deserving individuals.

Bishops are allowed a certain $ amount allowable from fast offerings for medical care.  Once that amount is met he must get permission from the Stake president to exceed said amount.  There is another threshold up to which the Stake President is allowed to authorize.  Once that is exceeded, permission must come from an Area authority, then from Salt Lake.  There are many tens of thousands of dollars available for medical care when necessary.

I did not perceive that $ was a problem for the OP.  I perceived their lack of respect for their ecclesiastical leadership, and own personal mental health issues to be the core problems.  If even half of what OP describes is true, then I truly feel for her.  That does not negate the necessity to take steps to overcome and advance.  

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On 8/24/2019 at 8:52 AM, JohnsonJones said:

As I said, some people will disagree.

MANY of those that I've seen who have asked to have their names taken off the rolls and otherwise, in many instances have had a HUGE testimony of the Church.  They were the type that always got up and said the Church was true.

However, that was the problem...it was ONLY of the Church that they had a testimony of.  When they found something troubling about the church, whether it was a problem with leadership, some perceived problem with policies, or some problem with the history...it is ALWAYS with the church.  When they have a testimony of "the Church" invariably, if they find something that doesn't match up to their idea of perfection...they fall away.

We only help people fall away from the church when we stress that a testimony of the church is what they need.  If we say, the church is perfect...then any leader that is not perfect, and policy which may not seem right, or any other factor in the church will tear away at that testimony.

On the otherhand, if one has a testimony of the gospel, all other things can fall into place.  It is similar to the idea that if you have a testimony of Joseph Smith and the Book of Mormon, even if other things seem contrary, everything else can fall into place.  Unlike the Church, the gospel is eternal.  It does not change, no matter how much people want to change it. 

People think the church itself is the principles, the eternal standing item, the thing that has always been...

But the church is NOT eternal.  We recently had a thread on dispensations.  This church, as we know it, is only a vehicle.  It is something for our time, but it is a structure that carries the gospel.  As you noted, the Church brings the gospel.  However, it is a FALLACY to think that if the church ceases to exist the gospel ceases to exist.  It no more ceases to exist than it ceased to exist every other time a church that carried the gospel died.  The gospel did not disappear in Noah's time.  Noah still had the gospel.  The gospel did not disappear during the great apostasy...people merely forgot it's principles and ordinances.  The gospel itself is eternal.  It can no more disappear than the Lord disappearing.  Just as the Lord is eternal, so is the gospel.

Having a testimony of the Church as someone's foundation is  a shaky foundation.  Having a testimony of the gospel is a more sure foundation.  This is because the Church can change.  The leaders can change.  The leaders are imperfect.  Having a testimony as your foundation of something that is imperfect has led many to have that foundation crumble when something challenges their idea of what it should be or it's image of perfection.  As the gospel itself does not change, it is a far more sure foundation upon which to build.

A basic idea of the house, as we could call it (instead of the archway principle that many use).  If you have the foundation built upon the Book of Mormon and the scriptures, these are the core foundation of your testimony.  These do not change overnight or on a whim.  Upon this you can build other things.  On that you can then start the base of the house on that foundation with Joseph Smith and other principles.  Then you can build up the structure with the teachings of the prophets and the words of the modern day revelation.  You build it with the Spirit guiding you.  Then, you put up the walls and such and these can be myriad things with current policies and ideas of the church.  HOWEVER...if these ever fall...as your foundation is NOT built upon ever changing things of the present, but the gospel...you will still have a solid foundation even if the house burns.

This is why I rarely see those who have a testimony built upon the gospel (aka...the Book of Mormon and scriptures) fail, but I have seen myriads of those who build their testimony on the church itself rather than the foundation of the gospel, fall away when something changes or challenges the longstanding ideas of the church itself.

As you said, the Church is a vehicle, but it is NOT the gospel itself.  The vehicle transports it to us, but it is what is inside the vehicle, what it is carrying that is important to have a testimony of.  The vehicle itself is something constructed for us, but if something fails or goes wrong with the vehicle...that does not mean that what it is carrying is to be thrown away or forgotten.  If the church ceased to exist tomorrow, we would all still have the gospel and would still know the principles of which we are to live.  If you have a testimony of the gospel, all else should follow in accordance.

In regards to the OP, there is NO WAY I'm going to say they just have to swallow and take abuse from others because they have to have a testimony of that.  That's ridiculous.  When portions of the Church do not act in a Christ like manner, or something does not accord with the gospel of Jesus Christ, there is NO CALL for us or requirement to have any testimony of any such ridiculous thing.  These imperfections are things of men, and thougn not necessarily of the church as a whole, they are part of what composes the church.  In this instance, I would say to realize that these are imperfections.  We should realize that it is the GOSPEL that we need to have a testimony of.  The rest of these things, if they do not seem to be part of what the Lord taught or teaches, then we stick with the gospel over the imperfections of leaders, people, and members.  Read the Scriptures and prayer for guidance from the Holy Ghost.  Learn to forgive others and realize it is the principles of the gospel that cannot fail.  Men fail, and thus those in the church and even at times, certain policies in the church, can fail us.  Putting our strength and reliance upon men and their arrogance, or people's belief that they are infallible and perfect will many times lead to sadness, disappointment and sorrow.  In many instances one may be offended, hurt, or even (as with the OP) put in dangerous situations and problems.  This is NOT the Lords' way.  We need to recognize the difference between the vehicle and the message.  The church has no power in and of itself to save.

I think the OP has found that out.  It is important now to realize the difference of the vehicle and the true power of who can save us.  It is the Lord, Jesus Christ who saves us.  It is only him who has the ability to help us.  In this life, sometimes as it is a temporary thing, we have hardships that we do not overcome.  However, his promise is that if we stay faithful and true, that we can and will have eternal life in the hereafter.  That is the promise that we can hold onto hope for, even when this life seems to want to destroy us with all the fury of this world.  We can know that the Lord has something better for us in the life to come if we simply keep hold of our faith and believe in him.

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.

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I'm sorry that you have experienced the treatment you have. My heart can feel your anger just by reading your words, and if you're looking for advice @anatess2 gave some worth taking. 

I know you would like to fix the Church and stop your abusers from abusing others, but I'm going to tell you that will take a long time. You have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help someone else with theirs. You have to heal from the wounds of their abuse before you are fit to fight back and expect to win. I'm speaking emotionally and physically, not spiritually. 

Ultimately, my recommendation is to get a good therapist and try out some yoga, pilates, or meditation. Obviously, these are in addition to what I assume you're already doing: sincere prayer and scripture study. It's unclear to me (I have terrible retention and can only see a paragraph at a time) if you are currently attending Sunday meetings. If you are, carry on. If not, consider going just for the sacrament so you can show God you are renewing your promise to live His gospel and expect Him to renew His promise for His Spirit always to be with you. 

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7 hours ago, Grunt said:

Are you looking for advice, or simply to vent?  

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.

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13 hours ago, Eternum said:

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.

I have seen people go through similar circumstances and yet they did NOT lose their testimony and are strong members of the church today.  Many decades ago, one of those people was I.  Not only that, but at the time I was not welcome at home for various reasons (my family are not Members, and some of them were not friendly towards the Church to say the least).

I am also a vet and during the period after I served, vets were not seen very nicely by some people. 

So how to deal with that?  Realize the problems you are facing is NOT with the gospel unless you make it about the gospel, but with some people who are members of the church.  You are not the only one, nor will you be the last, that faces such difficulties. 

Many who become antagonistic towards the Church try to lump people into categories.  They will say certain things and say all Mormons are like that.  Beyond it being prejudice and discriminatory, they like to pretend that those who remain in the church never went through such "trials" or things against them.  In many instances, that is far from true.  The difference is how those who keep their testimony saw the situation and dealt with it.

In other nations sometimes I find people that dislike "Americans" with a passion.  They find them rude, prideful, and contemptuous of local culture and mannerisms.  Does that mean they hate everything about the US?  Normally it does not.  Many times it boils down to some very bad experiences with those from the US.  However, in many of those same instances you'll find that they actually like many of the things from the US, but the people that they met from the US (and sometimes it's not even a great number) colored their perceptions of the US.

In that same light, this can apply to the Church. 

You stated

Quote

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.
 

These issues along with other items paint a financial issue, and seem to be at least one source over your complaint about the Bishop "lying" about meeting you.  I read your side of the story, and if what you say is correct, what he did does not seem right in how he treated you with that respect, but this (and many of the things you posted) seem to be all about how people are acting.  It is about how they treated you.

As I also state, I have seen this situation before in multiple situations.  I've seen one recently that is very similar to your situation.  Something to note is that Bishop are not trained clergy, nor are most trained in dealing with certain issues.  They have limited funds to do certain things with.  They are also people just like you or I, and just like normal people, have the fallibilities that others have.  That does not mean you should stick around and accept abuse from someone.  I'm not advising that at all.  In fact, I do not know how to help you in your situation.

My first goal though would be to try to get you in a more secure financial situation if you are not in one.  I probably would not turn to the church in this situation and turn you towards your nations social net.  The Catholics at times have medical services that can help in medical need, though I am not sure if they would be able to meet your needs or not.  Depending on where you live, certain counties also have special programs to help those who are in similar situations.

In this, I'd say, stop worrying so much about the church and focus on your needs and health.  In otherwords, if you can't go to church, then for the present time, don't focus on that and try to find immediate help for you.  However, that does NOT mean that you forget about the gospel.  The ability to pray and ask for help and guidance can be something that is vitally important to you.  In time, after you take care of yourself (or find help that can enable you to do so) you can refocus that faith and hopefully find a ward that is more accommodating and more friendly.

By all means, you want to separate yourself from any abusers or abuse.  That is normally the first step in any recovery process.  However, leaving those who are like this behind does not mean that you need to lose your faith in the Gospel nor the Lord. 

As I said, I am not a counselor of the type that hears these things for my work, I am actually a Historian.  I'm not sure how to actually help you.  I can sympathize, and as I've said, while others say they have not seen this, I HAVE.  I know that it occurs.  I think you need help and great deal of it.  It appears you are in Texas.

As I said, sometimes you need to step back and look after you.  In this instance, the church may not be the place for you to turn.  I would still keep the Lord with you though and your prayers for help to him.  These are some links to places that MIGHT be able to offer some aid if you are still in need of it.

Help paying bills in texas

This is a link to a service in Travis County that also helps with medical bills and other resources for those in need there

integral care adult services

I am but one person and as I said, not a professional counselor or otherwise.  I personally don't know exactly how to help you, but there are those who have a LOT more experience with this type of stuff than I do.

My advice may not be popular with some here, but as I said, if you have abusers at church, for now, avoid the abusers.  Read the scriptures if you have them, and if nothing else keep praying and keep your faith.  However, I think the biggest step for you if you in financial need and need help with medicines and medical services is to find that help for yourself.  It is important to be able to be healthy and have the necessities of life. 

That's what I'm trying to say and hope that it may guide you somewhere that you can get that help if you need it.  Take care of you first in this instance. 

Edited by JohnsonJones

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23 hours ago, Eternum said:

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.

Genuinely curious as to what led you to draw the conclusion that I think you're acting out of codependency. I never even considered that, so I'm not sure what part of my response communicated that idea to you. 

You are absolutely correct that one of the foundational tenets of the Gospel in these latter days is personal revelation. That being said, I cannot receive revelation for you, nor can you receive it for me. However, I did say a short prayer while composing my original response, and asked what I could say to help you. We can be inspired to share thoughts and testimonies with each other, but we have no right to revelation on what the other is called by God to do. You have to at least make me dinner first. (That last sentence is comic relief.) 

I hope that you will study out in your mind what you should do to repair the damage you have witnessed done, and then ask of God if it be right. I know that He will answer that prayer and provide you with strength to do His will based on your faithfulness.

Edited by seashmore

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On 8/29/2019 at 6:30 AM, JohnsonJones said:

Many who become antagonistic towards the Church try to lump people into categories.  They will say certain things and say all Mormons are like that.  Beyond it being prejudice and discriminatory, they like to pretend that those who remain in the church never went through such "trials" or things against them.  In many instances, that is far from true.  The difference is how those who keep their testimony saw the situation and dealt with it.

In other nations sometimes I find people that dislike "Americans" with a passion.  They find them rude, prideful, and contemptuous of local culture and mannerisms.  Does that mean they hate everything about the US?  Normally it does not.  Many times it boils down to some very bad experiences with those from the US.  However, in many of those same instances you'll find that they actually like many of the things from the US, but the people that they met from the US (and sometimes it's not even a great number) colored their perceptions of the US. 

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.

On 8/29/2019 at 6:30 AM, JohnsonJones said:

These issues along with other items paint a financial issue, and seem to be at least one source over your complaint about the Bishop "lying" about meeting you.  I read your side of the story, and if what you say is correct, what he did does not seem right in how he treated you with that respect, but this (and many of the things you posted) seem to be all about how people are acting.  It is about how they treated you.

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:

Quote

During this time, the meeting I had had with my stake president in which he said that he would contact Eternum's stake president finally bore fruit. Eternum's stake president sent one of his counselors and the same counselor to her bishop who had been by the apartment multiple times to meet with her. Eternum refused their meeting, with her energy already plummeting and her health worsening; her brother agreed to meet with them outside of the apartment, which Eternum said felt like a large comfort to her. They told her brother, outright, that they could do nothing to help Eternum, and if she was unsatisfied with the level of help she had received, she could talk to the bishop again. They agreed that the situation “sounded bad” but defended the bishop, saying that he had only been in the calling for 10 months and was still “getting his thoughts together”. I should hasten to add here that the bishop, in my call with him last year to arrange a meeting with Eternum, had told me that he had served in multiple bishoprics in the past and it was not his first time being a bishop. The counselors told Eternum's brother that they had only met with him because they were interested in having him reactivate in the church, and wanted to meet in the future to discuss that.

 

On 8/29/2019 at 6:30 AM, JohnsonJones said:

In this, I'd say, stop worrying so much about the church and focus on your needs and health.  In otherwords, if you can't go to church, then for the present time, don't focus on that and try to find immediate help for you.  However, that does NOT mean that you forget about the gospel.  The ability to pray and ask for help and guidance can be something that is vitally important to you.  In time, after you take care of yourself (or find help that can enable you to do so) you can refocus that faith and hopefully find a ward that is more accommodating and more friendly.

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.

On 8/29/2019 at 6:30 AM, JohnsonJones said:

I am but one person and as I said, not a professional counselor or otherwise.  I personally don't know exactly how to help you, but there are those who have a LOT more experience with this type of stuff than I do.

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.

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11 hours ago, seashmore said:

Genuinely curious as to what led you to draw the conclusion that I think you're acting out of codependency. I never even considered that, so I'm not sure what part of my response communicated that idea to you. 

Me being overly defensive. Sorry about that.

On 8/29/2019 at 12:22 AM, seashmore said:

You have to put on your own oxygen mask before you can help someone else with theirs.

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.

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1 hour ago, Eternum said:

 

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.

Here's how I look at it.  This may or may not help.  

Heavenly Father uses imperfect people.  We can look around us and see people in Sacrament every day who have fallen in one aspect or another.  We can pick up the paper and see people, including Church members, who have done horrible things.  The natural man is imperfect.  

However, that doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the Priesthood or purposes God uses us, as imperfect people, for.    I sin.  I repent.  I try to be better.  Does that mean when I bless the Sacrament, because I'm an imperfect sinner, that it isn't a sacred ordinance?  I don't believe so.  You can always trust the priesthood, you just can't always trust the person exercising it.  I like to think more often than not you can, though.

So I would go to Sacrament meetings.  I would listen to the message.  That doesn't mean listen to the man or woman delivering it, but listen to the message itself.  Often Heavenly Father has something for us in those messages, regardless how imperfect the person giving it may be.  Listen to the message.  Partake of the Sacrament.  Focus on Christ.  That's what we need as individuals, and what I believe He expects from us.

 

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