Sunday, April 23, 2017

A Year of Absence: Part 1 - Loss of Faith

“Our story is the only thing we have that is completely our own” 
(Melton, Love Warrior, 148)

I have been absent for some time now. I would apologize for social niceties, but I will instead choose authenticity and truth-telling. I am not sorry. Recent months have been . . . well, just another chapter on my journey.

In the spirit of authenticity and truth-telling, here is where I’ve been.

~ ~ ~

Several months ago, spring of 2016. The one-year anniversary of my baptism into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is approaching. I was eagerly awaiting the day, amazed that it had been nearly a year since I decided to do what I felt God was calling me to do, the thing that I knew was right for me, for that time. Since the day that I publicly declared that I would follow wherever God led me. Since I received a compass necklace, reminding me that as long as I kept trying, the Divine would help me and lead me.

That day, I committed to this church, this institution, but more importantly, I made a covenant between myself and my God that had no intermediary. This was a personal covenant. A covenant to the journey. I promised that I would follow. When people around me, not members of the Church, asked why I was doing this, I told them it was because I felt that God was asking me to do this right now. It was the right thing for the right time.

For much of that first year, I had been quite honest about my struggles with faith and my doubts. However, something had kept me afloat in this faith, in assurance of the truth of this church and the nobility of this work.

During April, that string of attachment snapped. I suppose the tension and weight had become too strong. That rope had been fraying for many weeks, growing weaker and weaker, the light dimmer and dimmer.

I asked to be released from my calling, told my Relief Society president that I would no longer be able to keep my visiting teaching route, and cried in the church parking lot.

I could feel no Spirit of God. I could fathom no faith in any type of god who created or loved or paid attention to the workings of this planet. My mind and world was dark. Hard as I tried, I could not bring myself to believe essential doctrines. Everything ceased making sense to me, ceased seeming reasonable. I was utterly alone in the dark, angry that I had been so foolish as to accept the doctrines of this church and live with a false hope. I was angry that I’d ever dared to think any kind of god existed.

*This post is part of a series entitled "A Year of Absence." Read Part 2 here, and Part 3 here.*

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