I just listened to a podcast of a friend of mine discussing some of her life in the LDS church. Towards the end, she mentioned that she stopped attending church. This on the heels of several other friends of mine cutting ties this year with the church.
And it makes me sad.
But not sad for why you might think. I’m not worried about their eternal salvation or their lost blessings.
I’m sad because it deepens the friction of my own struggles. Sad because it widens the chasm between where I am and where I want to be, between my morality and my spirituality. Sad because it makes the hill I’m trying to climb steeper and higher. Sad because it strangles my hope.
I think people assume that since I decided to stay in the church after last November’s debacle that I have somehow reconciled myself with everything, and that I had smoothed out all the wrinkles and healed all the wounds. But that is not true at all. Not even close.
My faith crisis never went away.
I still struggle. Every day. I still struggle to know what I want to do. I still struggle to know where I want to be. I still struggle to know who I am.
And nothing I’ve tried fixes it. Certainly none of the typical Mormon advice.
Prayer doesn’t work. I pray every day. Several times every day. And I try. I try so hard to pour out my soul. Often my prayers seem empty and repetitious, but there are times when I put my heart into it and I plead—desperately plead—for direction and guidance and enrichment. And nothing.
Scripture study doesn’t work. I study my scriptures every day. And I don’t just skim them. I delve into the words, looking for meaning and insight. Sometimes I find it, but it all seems superficial. None of it motivating me toward a change of heart to true spirituality.
Temple attendance doesn’t work. I’ve been back to the temple 3 times since the November 2015 policy change, and each time, it has been negative experiences. My first time back was for an endowment session, and I felt uncomfortable and like an outsider. My second time back was for sealings, and I felt intense promptings to just get up and leave (I didn’t leave.). My most recent time back was for baptisms, and it was less negative than the others, but it lacked even a crumb of spiritual nourishment. Maybe it was prophetic that the last time I attended the temple prior to the policy change I felt like I was saying goodbye.
So, I sit here sad.