I think we need to ask ourselves important questions. Why did I react that way? What are my motives? Am I being humble or prideful? Why do I go to the church I belong to? Do I really believe in Christ? Does it matter if I disagree with this particular doctrine? I don't know the answer to this but what DO I know? Am I remembering that the Lord's knowledge and purposes are greater than my own and may be different than my imperfect mind can understand?
I've been asking questions like these for many years. It helps me know myself better and stay on track with the person I want to become. It also helps me be a truth seeker instead of a minion. Getting the answers to these questions isn't always easy but definitely always worth it. I've learned that sometimes I'm not honest with myself. Sometimes I'm a hipocrit. I have a more rebellious nature than I'd realized before. I've learned that I naturally have a kind heart. I want to be a blessing to others. And sometimes I'm pretty darn remarkable.
A few years ago I had a spiritual crisis. I wanted to know if I was a member of my church because I truly believed it or if it was just a comfortable habit because of how I was raised. So I asked God to help me know.
I remember waking up one morning, it must have been just a day or two after my prayer, and all of my spiritual desires (and habits) were gone. I had no desire to read my scriptures. No desire to go to church. No desire to say my prayers etc. If I had been a habitual member it was now a thing of the past. But I also realized my habits and desires were replaced by fear. I tried to understand that fear. It didn't take long to figure out that the fear was the absence of the Holy Ghost as my constant companion. Without realizing it, I had become very dependent on the spirit of the Lord to guide me throughout my days. And I had become quite dependent on the comfort that comes with that companionship, without realizing it, until it was gone. And I knew, I want the peace that the gospel brings me.
I desperately wanted it back-my only spiritual desire-the Holy Ghost. Everything became a challenge. I had to fight to want to do the things that I needed to in order to have Him in my life. It wasn't easy. I trudged through the scriptures and begrudged praying. It was more difficult to overcome bad habits and conquer sin. I wondered if there was something wrong with me causing me not to feel the spirit or if He had abandoned me completely. There were times here and there that I had the spirit with me. But I had to work hard for it. And too soon, that feeling was gone and I had to work hard again. It was a constant battle.
One day, maybe 8 months into this, I received my first prompting in months. I had a feeling that I should stop reading novels (a HUGE love) and use that time to read/listen to General Conference talks. It was a sacrifice but I figured if the Lord was actually going to send me a prompting I'd better act on it. And so, I made the difficult decision to put down my books.
It made all the difference in the world. As I listened to our prophets and apostles speak words of wisdom my desires started to return and gradually I started to recognize the spirit in my life again.
I'm more sensitive to that absence than I used to be. And I'm grateful for that. I know quickly when I need to up my game.
I've thought about those General Conference talks. Why was it that that has made the biggest difference? I've figured out why. Because I needed the entire package. Prayer and scriptures and trips to the temple were crucial but I was leaving out something the Lord had provided me for my spiritual and temporal growth. They (the apostles and prophets) helped make prayer and scriptures real for me again. They gave me perspective and real examples of how to apply the other helps Heavenly Father has so graciously sent. Through current revelation I'm able to receive from the Lord what my heart needs. These men speak with that Spirit that my heart was longing for. Their number one priority is to bring the Lord to us so that we then come unto Him. They're not interested in being popular or telling people what they want to hear, they are willing to do the hard thing, say the difficult words, whatever it takes to help us return to our Father in Heaven. They are doing His work, not ours. And I'm grateful for that!
What would be the purpose of a church that is led by the pleasures of man rather than by the omnipotence of God? Is that even a church or just a shallow feel-good-lie?
I'm a truth seeker. I can believe eating pizza for every meal will make me lose weight but that doesn't make it so. There are some who would defend my right to believe that, and coddle me for it and maybe even get on board and we'd all have pizza parties and life would be great. But they aren't really helping me because at the end of the day, that pizza will make me gain weight.
I'm grateful for men who are called of God. I'm grateful that their words support scripture. I'm grateful they promote love. Love for our neighbors and love for our Father who gave His son for us. And I'm grateful that they're willing to be criticized and ostracized for speaking the truth. Because I need truth in this confusing time. I don't need lies that lead me astray for short-term happiness. I want the eternal stuff.
I'm grateful for the combination of the scriptures, prayer, temples and apostles and Prophets. They are validation of Father's love for us. They are worth defending!