All the discoveries I have made since I started blogging have made me feel alive. Completely and wholly alive. Recently at church and around people from church, I have been feeling dead. And what's sad is that I don't even feel the Church is fighting for me. In this battle for my soul, the Church isn't even fighting for me. So why don't I leave it? Why can't I leave it? Why do I still love a group of people that act like an abusive boyfriend?
It's because of a promise that I made. That's the only thing I have to explain it. Baptismal covenants I can break. Temple covenants I can break. But this promise I made, I just can't break it. I don't want to. Here's the memory . . . I have adapted it from a journal entry I wrote when I was 17.
In the morning we went to breakfast and were fed some real food this time. The whole youth conference had been great thus far. After breakfast we went off and heard a very spiritual, very powerful message from President E****. We were then given the opportunity to go off and find a spot in the woods to 1. Identify the things about ourselves we hated, 2. Find specific ways to correct the perceived weaknesses, 3. Conduct a person conversation with God by 4. praying vocally, and then 5. read the contents of an envelope that was given to us. We were given over an hour for this solo experience.
I went off down the road and found a spot where I was completely alone. I knelt down in the tall grass. The sun was above me, and I could not look up because it was too bright. As I began to whisper my prayer, saying "We all know the weakness that haunts me" I was overcome with the bitterness of my sins. I felt darkness pressing in all around me and tears shook my entire body with the pain of my unrighteousness. I was curled up completely fetal, and my body was stiff and tense. I could not speak, but continued in my heart confessing and asking for help. My Father and I identified some solutions for my problem, and I committed to them. I was to seek the confidence of my Bishop when I got to BYU 3 months later, get help from a therapist, and serve a mission. The promise was that I would do these things if He would deliver me from this pain. I don't know how long I lay there curled up and convulsing, but it was a while before I finally was given the comfort of the Holy Ghost as I reflected on the Atonement of Jesus Christ.
There in the grass where I knelt, I proceeded to have a very intimate conversation with my Heavenly Father. I could feel the hand on my shoulder, lifting me from my agonized position. I was then leaning on my hands. I could not look up. The veil of Heaven thinned, and for the first time in my life I thought about having Heavenly Parents. It was the sweetest thing I had ever felt. I thanked my Father for my family and friends and leaders. I told them how hard it was to live here on Earth, and how much I missed them. My heart ached so much with it then. I longed for them. I think that God wanted me to understand the Divine role of Father and Mother and the eternal aspect of gender.
Heavenly Father told me that there were joys that I experience on Earth that exceeded the joys of Heaven before I was born because of the opposing challenges. What a comfort it was to me to know that coming here was worth the pains of mortality. I asked them more about what life was like before I was born, what I was like with them. I felt clearly a close relationship with them. I was reminded of my patriarchal blessing, and told that I was a loyal supporter of Jesus Christ. I was told that I convinced many spirits to come to Earth who might have otherwise rejected the Plan of Salvation.
God told me that just as there were people here whom I admired- Brother B*****, Pres. E****, Pres. J******, the P****'s, Brother K******, etc- there were spirits in the preexistence that I admired. Among them was Michael, the first man. I wanted to be like him.
I also felt pain when I thought of how hard it was to see spirits left behind- those who didn't chose the plan. If only we could have convinced more to accept the plan of Christ.
As I conversed with God I continually missed Him so much. I didn't want to stop, and I knew that my hour and a half was not over, but at one point I felt strongly that I had to say goodbye. I hugged my Heavenly Parents again. It was so emotional for me because I knew that I might not always remember them. I asked them to help me. I expressed appreciation for their Son Jesus Christ, and closed in his name.
As soon as I was done praying, the whole atmosphere around me changed. I felt the veil restored. I opened my envelope and read a letter from my earthly parents. It was touching. I spent a while reflecting on my experiences and reading Daniel chapter 10 in the Old Testament, and then I returned to camp when we were supposed to. I am so grateful for that personal "sacred grove" type experience. I now know exactly how possible it was for Joseph to see God the Father and His Son, and I believe that he did.
I have kept every aspect of the promise I made that day. And now, as I have just come home from my mission, I can feel Him lifting the pain. He is upholding his end of the bargain. What He is not doing is ridding me of the same gender attractions. Perhaps this is why I am so confused.
But I guess the point is, if God is keeping His promise, and I have kept my promise, then isn't that proof enough that the Church is true and I should follow it? It is this promise that makes me stay in the Church.