Nigh impossible.
By Trevor
7/24/2011 10:15:54 AM
Step 2 - Key Principle — Come to believe that the power of God can restore you to complete spiritual health.
Any step involving God is extremely difficult for me. I am not one who has an easy time with faith. I'm not saying I think that faith should be easy, necessarily, but I do wish I could verify the truth of the Gospel and know in my heart, soul and mind that there is a god who loves me and has a plan for me. I wish there was something which, after searching long and hard, I could point to and say, "That's why I believe." I need a rock, something on which to tether my beliefs. I've read the Book of Mormon, but when I prayed about it after having read it, the only answer I really got was a welling of hope and my own feeling that I wanted it to be true. At that moment it was enough. I decided I had felt the Spirit, I cried tears of joy, and life was wonderful.

Now, though...I need something more tangible. Just because I've been raised to believe something is true and really want it to be true doesn't automatically make it so. I've heard countless accounts of people who have heard "a still small voice" which they swear was not their own. Why can't I find that? Am I undeserving? Are those people just full of crap? What's the deal?

So, I'm reading the BoM again. I just barely started. I'm going to pray again for a real answer.

I tried reading the Bible a while back, from the beginning, but I found that to be detrimental to my faith. Tales of women drugging their father with alcohol and seducing him, someone riding a talking ass, and a man offering up his virgin daughters to a mob (and not, apparently, condemned for doing so) are all very discouraging things to read. I'm no biblical scholar, so don't quote me on those things, but you get my message. The Old Testament was screwed up. How could things be so radically different today under the same God?

And how could whole races of people be cursed (Blacks, Indians)? Are not men punished for their own sins? Why couldn't the Blacks be given the priesthood until 1978? It sounds to me like it was pressure from the non-LDS world that tipped the scales on that "revelation".

There is no doubt in my mind that the Church, as an organization, is a wonderful thing. Belief in God can be a very good thing. But some of these inconsistencies will always nag at me until and unless I somehow acquire Faith. Faith makes it so that anything strange or ill-fitting can be explained away by the ineffable will of God (which, honestly, sounds a bit like a cop-out).

You know, there are plenty of people in the world who feel no guilt or shame whatsoever about watching pornography and masturbating and having sex outside of wedlock. They're told that it's normal, natural, and acceptable. These are not evil or consciousless individuals. Are the negative feelings we experience just from religious culture, and not actually from the Spirit telling us that what we're doing is wrong?

My intention is not to come on here and undermine anyone's faith. I'm just extremely confused and desperate and seeking answers. The problem is, I'm familiar with the standard answers and they haven't been much help so far. From LDS people, the answer is to search the scriptures, ponder, and pray. If you ask a non-deity-specific spiritual person, they'll tell you to figure out what belief works for you and believe that. If you ask an atheist, they'll tell you religion is full of crap. So who do I listen to, and how do I believe anything? Even choosing to believe in nothing, as an atheist, is impossible for me. I tried being agnostic for a while, but that just seems too wishy-washy, I guess. I need a real purpose and direction for my life.

I want to believe. I really, really do. If it was true, it would be so wonderful. Even if it's not, I think it's a great organization, but I couldn't be a part of it. I can't stand being false.

Until I can fix this, I'm stuck on step 2: Come to believe that the power of God can restore you to complete spiritual health.

So much for forward motion.


Faith just is    

Asking these questions just shows that you are looking. A few things to think about:
The Church and the gospel are perfect. The people practicing them are not.
God will not take away our free agency. People are (and must be) free to make their own choices.
We don't have all the answers, and we may not get them here on this earth. As we have the potential to become as God is, one day, we have the potential to know what He knows. But I'm okay with not knowing everything yet.
Faith cannot be proven, and that is the point. He needs to separate the wheat from the chaff. The only way to do so it to test us. And tests of faith must be, by definition, tests to see what we will do when we do not have incontrovertible proof of everything. And that's the point.
I know that God love me and loves us all. I know this the same way I know my daughers and son love my wife and I. I can't put a mathematical formula on the board to prove my childrens' love. But I know it exists, and I know He exists and loves all of us.

Keep praying,
posted at 14:57:09 on July 24, 2011 by Hk-47
This is one of the hardest steps    
"I feel your pain of not being able to feel a connection with God. The most important connection that we all need and it sometimes feels just out of reach. I thought I was broken and unble to have a spiritual experience. when I was in my teens, I felt that I didnt feel the spirit because I wasnt worthy because I masturtbated. I have a knot in my throat just writing about this and remembering it. I was so jealous that everyone was so lucky to have these awesome spiritual experiences. Then I would feel that maybe they were lying. Was it some weird "group think"? It really shook my confidence to the core.

Sound familiar?

Here's what I found works for me.. It didnt work for me to pray for a sign. It didnt work for me to test God. I read the BOM over and over and prayed expecting fireworks.. all I got was emptiness. It wasnt until I finally was able to humble myself and understand how merciful the Lord had been to humanity. It wasnt until that I was able to be grateful for what I had, that I was flooded with the spirit. that was the key for me. I didnt have any whispers. No comas, no Nephi visions, no angels . Just a huge ah-ha and feeling of peace and oneness with my understanding.

Other things that have worked for me... Praying out loud. Being with nature. Listening to sacrament hymns.. something to find the gratitude..

Other that that.. HK has it right.. just keep praying..

posted at 22:12:51 on July 24, 2011 by Hurtallover
It all part of the process.    
"I really connected with Gospel music early on in my recovery. Many of the songs are written about trials, struggles, and addiction. It has helped me connect with the God and also become familiar with the language of recovery. It is rare for any in church to even say God let alone use words like surrender. The talk is all about exercising faith, and doing works. For me I had to really look back and re-examine every belief I had about God. I have been going to church since I was a fetus, and I don 't think I ever developed a relationship with God. I never allowed myself to allow him to be what / who, I needed him to be. For some in 12 step God is a chair, their sponsor, or merely a higher power. The nature of our spiritual sickness is that we have cut ourselves off from our maker, and it takes sometime for that relationship to be recreated, or to be created.

Don't be hard on yourself for questioning. In my mind it is all part of the process of coming to a belief. Coming to a belief is a step before even having faith.

Here are a few songs / artists that I have really loved.

Laura Story - Especially Blessings - This has become the theme for my recovery.
Jadon Lavik

I listen to Pandora alot, and have created a Laura Story station. I am listening to it now, and it has really centered me. God is Great!

Visit to listen in your car."
posted at 23:16:55 on July 24, 2011 by jblackb
A word about guilt    
"A couple of the guys in my recovery group are atheists. Some of them look to Mother Earth as their higher power, others look to the mountains and the trees. These people do not believe in our religion, or even God for that matter, but they will be the first to tell you that porn and masturbation makes them miserable.

I personally believe that the reason God gives us commandments is because He knows what type of lifestyle will make us happy. When I have sobriety versus when I'm actively indulging in my addiction is like night and day. I don't think that has too much to do with the religious guilt I feel, but I can see how that might be a factor.

From what I've heard from my atheist friends in recovery, they choose to be sober because it's simply the right thing to do, not because they've been guilted into it by some religious belief.

I think that no matter where you are with your faith in God, recovery and sobriety will improve your quality of life. Best of luck to you."
posted at 11:28:26 on July 25, 2011 by ETTE

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"I will speak briefly of the principle of repentance. How grateful I am for the understanding we have of this great principle. It is not a harsh principle, as I thought when I was a boy. It is kind and merciful. The Hebrew root of the word means, simply, "to turn," or to return, to God. Jehovah pled with the children of Israel: "Return . . . and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful . . . and I will not keep anger for ever. Only acknowledge thine iniquity, that thou hast transgressed against the Lord thy God." When we acknowledge our sins, confess them and forsake them, and turn to God, He will forgive us."

— Richard G. Hinckley

General Conference April 2006