Pages

Monday, December 1, 2014

When Going to Church Hurts

Maybe you are struggling with infertility and it hurts to see all those inevitable pregnant bellies and new babies. Maybe you have been the subject of gossip and don't want to show your face. Maybe you are struggling in your marriage (or separation, or divorce) and can't stand to hear another lesson on eternal marriage. Maybe you feel like an outcast and don't want to sit alone again. 

There are numerous reasons why it might hurt to go to church. You dread Sundays and lay in bed coming up with excuses to stay home. Sometimes you do stay at home. Other times you peel yourself out of bed, get ready, and trudge your way through church. Sometimes you have to leave during the meeting because it is just too much. 

I feel you, sister. I think it is much more common than anyone really knows. We keep it a secret after all. Heaven forbid someone finds out that it hurts to go to church and judge us. Because we all know it is possible. Some self-righteous saint might very well tell us we just need to pray more or some nonsense like that. 

Sometimes it hurts to go to church. I am hear to tell you that it is okay to feel that way. I hope that you don't always feel that way. I hope that you go through periods of your life where it doesn't hurt anymore. But for now, sometimes it just hurts.

I'm not going to pretend I have all the answers for this. I don't really have any solutions for you. Sometimes no matter what you do, how much you pray, and how many scriptures you read, it'll still hurt to go to church. 

What I want to talk about instead is ways that you can still find your own personal worship despite all the pain at church. 

Do we have to go to church? Nope. You don't have to do anything. But I'm guessing that if you are reading this then you have some sort of desire to go to church, despite the hurt. Sometimes we go to church for our children. Sometimes we go to save face. Sometimes we go because we have some sort of Sunday duty. There are a lot of reasons.

If you look at the real reasons why we should go to church, they might look a little different. 

First and most important, we go to church to partake of the sacrament. If the pain is truly too much to bear, at least go for that one. 

Second, we go to church to worship God. We sacrifice our time to go and sing praises and listen to gospel messages. This just so happens to involve squirming children, people kicking your pew, spilt cheerios, and judgmental looks. 

Third, we go to church to be obedient. The man upstairs asks us to do a lot of things, and sometimes they are hard. God wants us at church. 

It is really that simple. But that doesn't take away the hurt.

Here are some suggestions that might help you. I'd love to hear more suggestions in the comments. 

Find some time before church to spend in personal worship. This might be playing the piano or singing hymns. It might mean sitting in a quiet, peaceful place in silence. It might mean reading scriptures or other inspiring literature. It might mean taking a hot bath and meditating on spiritual things. Find something that is your own personal, selfish, indulgent worship time. Connect with God before you go to church. It might help you connect with him beyond the pain when you are actually at church. 

Tune it out. If you can't handle the speaker or the lesson, tune it out. Dive into the scriptures or conference talks, anything on your little gospel library app. Sure, the speaker or teacher may think you are totally rude, but who cares? Speakers and teachers are supposed to be facilitators of the Holy Ghost so they should just take it down a notch and not take it personally when someone isn't paying attention. Take some liberty and feel free to do what you need to do to feel the Holy Ghost. If you are being disruptive, that is one thing, but it's okay if you just let the spirit take you where you need to go. 

Find a safe person. It doesn't matter what their position is or what their relation is to you. Just find a person that is safe at church. Someone you can sit by. Someone who won't give dirty looks when you check facebook on your phone. Someone who won't make a scene if you burst into tears. Someone who will be discreet if you have to leave the room. I promise you that there is someone safe in your ward. If you need help, pray your guts out to find out who it is. There's something about having a safe person there that is liberating. It frees you up to find your worship beyond the hurt.

Focus on the sacrament. If it hurts to be at church, then there is something you need. It's the Atonement of Jesus Christ. Sing your heart out during the sacrament hymn. Blur your vision so you can imagine Jesus Christ in place of the young men passing you the trays of bread and water. Give the kids some candy right before hand if it will give you some momentary peace. Cling to those few sacred minutes and try and find God beyond the pain. Utilize the power of the sacrament to restore your soul and give you strength to make it through. 


Yes, sometimes it hurts to go to church. There is certainly nothing I can do to change that. What I do know is that God wants to reach you beyond your pain. He recognizes the sacrifices you make to worship Him, and He will bless you.

Hang in there sister.  


What are your secrets for surviving church when it hurts?



240 comments:

  1. Thank you for your beautiful post! I don't know if I have any secrets other than what you have stated, but I agree whole heartedly. I wish I could love church, but sometimes it is just easier to stay home and not go through the emotional struggle that I feel. I have the hardest time with contradictions in church manuals and materials versus what I know to be the real story or history, and there are other things that just do not make sense to my rational mind. Sometimes I Feel like I am fighting every rational bone in my body to stay in the church. I am finding that finding others like me and being able to support each other is my greatest help. I am new in my ward and still working to find people who I can confide in, but your blog will be a wonderful outlet I am sure :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing! Pray your guts out. Someone in your ward will be exactly the person you need!

      Delete
    2. I love the quote 'doubt your doubts before you doubt your faith'. Did I get it right? Anyway, our 'rational' mind isn't always the best answer. The gospel is true; people aren't perfect. Don't lose your faith because something doesn't make sense.

      Delete
    3. I have the exact same struggle, i feel for you
      .

      Delete
    4. I have the exact same struggle, i feel for you
      .

      Delete
    5. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

      I have felt some of this. What I always come back to is the basics. The Gospel brings joy and I feel the truth of the Book of Mormon when I read it. I have learned, too, that those parts of the history that make me go, "huh", are because of the church having to rely on mortals to do the leg work. Also- you really can talk to anyone at church that you feel close to about this. Your bishop would probably be able to help a lot. Hanging out with those that have a strong faith is a good idea, too, so you can get encouragement instead of just commiseration. ;)

      Delete
    6. There is a simple reason we all feel this way sometimes:Satan is a jerk. Trust him to jack with the one time in our week that should really uplift and prepare us for facing more of his crap. First, you have got to know that everyone has these times. Second, remember that crises of faith are temporary-you will not always feel like this at church. Third, don't bail. Your new and improved understanding and testimony of the things which seem confusing at the present are coming. They can't be obtained without the opposition; you're almost there. Don't stop short of your prize. I know these things are true because they happened to me too. I promise the renewed sense of trust and closeness you want to feel are worth the struggle. Keep praying, keep reading and keep trying. (but nobody says you have to pretend everything is perfect!) Reach out to others around you. You will find the strength and understanding you seek. Good will not forsake you in your time of need if you don't give up. Hang tough, sister!

      Delete
    7. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

      I asked the bishop for a calling with primary kids - at the time I needed to be away from adults while going through my divorce. Nursery kids to 5 years old don't care what's going on in your life, they want attention, to be loved, to tell you about them. I needed that. It kept me away from adults & all their questions - some from harmless people that I'm sure really cared, while others just wanted the juicy gossip.

      However, there was a time when I needed a break from younger kids but didn't really want to go with the adults. That was a struggle. I felt like I had no good choice. I needed a break from my very active child, I didn't want to hear whining or complaining from any other child either. But I also didn't want to be with adults & all their nosing about. The ward I was in at the time was full of gossiping people & it was hard to know who I could really trust. Many times I just went to sacrament & left as soon as it was over. With my active child I rarely made it in the chapel; those double doors were my sanity & my kid's safe room for him to be active without disturbing anyone. I could sit & watch him & get a bit of much needed peace.

      Not long after my divorce was final, I moved & went to a new ward. That ward was full of love, no judging, no backstabbing, no gossip when someone was at the pulpit or teaching a lesson - it was refreshing. I was able to open up to a few people, then a few more...eventually I felt a part of that ward family too.

      Struggling is a part of life. We are promised that we will not be given more than we can handle, we just have to remember to pray for the strength to get through it! Through all this I've learned to never share what I want to keep private, until that dear friend has proven to be a true friend for 5 years or more. I watch how they treat others, I pay attention to how they talk about others-is it uplifting, finding solutions for the family, or just gossip & they are digging for more? I don't talk to the gossipers, I smile & keep my distance. I am polite but have an escape plan should I ever be cornered- I have 5 children to use as an excuse to cut that conversation short!

      Do what you need to protect yourself, but allow yourself to be uplifted. There are days it may not seem to worth it. I can testify that the times I really didn't want to go to church, I heard something that lifted my spirits immensely! Satan is there feeding on your doubts, trying to lead you away. Don't let him! The more you listen to Satan, the stronger his hold on you. Stay strong, follow the spirit & Satan will lose his hold on you. Hugs & Prayers to all! It never hurts to ask a family member or a friend to put your name on the temple roles, or ask for a blessing - they can help protect you & give you the strength you need. You may feel unworthy, don't let it stop you. Ask & it shall be given - you need only the courage to ask :)

      Delete
    8. AnonymousMay 22, 2016

      I love this am glad am notthe only one who feels like this in my new ward.Theres alot of things that need to be change, lord knows am trying to not leave.

      Delete
    9. AnonymousMay 22, 2016

      Sherica not anonymous

      Delete
    10. AnonymousMay 22, 2016

      Thank you everybody hang there love reading each post, gives me strength that am not alone in this love you guys and remeber heavenly father loves us to.❤������ Sherica not anonymous

      Delete
    11. I let people drive me away from the church when I was a teenager. It took me about 36 years to come back because I was afraid people would push me away. But I was wrong. To my amazement I was excepted with loving arms. I don't always have to sit by the same people. I try to move around and I always try to be kind and loving towards everyone. I believe that's the way the Lord would want us to be. I hope that I make a difference for those who feel like I use to. And I hope I can make the difference to those that are having a hard time dealing with any problem. Just remember everyone has problems some just cover theirs up better. Love to all and don't stop. Just keep moving forward. The Lord loves you.

      Delete
    12. I let people drive me away from the church when I was a teenager. It took me about 36 years to come back because I was afraid people would push me away. But I was wrong. To my amazement I was excepted with loving arms. I don't always have to sit by the same people. I try to move around and I always try to be kind and loving towards everyone. I believe that's the way the Lord would want us to be. I hope that I make a difference for those who feel like I use to. And I hope I can make the difference to those that are having a hard time dealing with any problem. Just remember everyone has problems some just cover theirs up better. Love to all and don't stop. Just keep moving forward. The Lord loves you.

      Delete
    13. AnonymousMay 23, 2016

      Thank-you for this article. On days when I can't make myself attend the regular ward or singles ward, I have attended the homeless branch, sacrament meeting at a hospital, church at a memory care center, and an assisted living center. Doing so has helped me count my blessings instead of my sorrows and complaints. Plus, they are a lot shorter. I know a guy who attends a Spanish speaking ward now and then to help his frustrations, even though he served his mission in Argentina about forty years ago. There is a deaf ward I might check out, I bet the spirit doesn't have to whisper as loudly there.

      Delete
    14. AnonymousMay 23, 2016

      My son recently took his own life, when you go through this kind of tragedy the veil becomes a little thinner for awhile and the Holy Spirit is allowed to speak a little stronger than usual. Heavenly Father gave me a gift (I won't give details) to say good bye to him the day before he died he later told me that that was a way for him to show me it was always part of my son's "plan". But I had a really hard time because then "what's agency?" He very clearly told me that many things we learn here contradict each other because of the laws of this existence. This one being the law of time, but assured me that although I am not currently supposed to understand, agency and omnipotence do co-exist perfectly in His laws.
      Keep doubting your doubts, but this doesn't mean follow blindly. This means don't let something that simply cannot be stop you. Press on and ASK God how it can be.

      Delete
    15. That was beautiful...Amen...

      Delete
    16. AnonymousMay 25, 2016

      If you haven't attended a deaf ward before, you'll be pretty surprised at how loud the meetings actually are. Beautiful to be there too, but a lot of deaf parents with hearing children breeds noise like nobody's business. Bet it would be awesome place for people with naturally more rambunctious children. :) no judgemental looks because your kid is a busy body and there are times you refuse to take them out because taking him/her out, or just staying out the whole meeting, isn't doing any good to teach them to actually hold still and be quiet.

      Delete
  2. Having just found this I can say there were Sundays and likely will be again, when pasting a smile mask on my face is too much to do. I cannot give the required surface answers. In a very small Branch with hardliners, those who push and insist their way is the only way, one can feel hemmed in on all sides. Outspoken sisters don't help either, always laying down their pov's and laws of life. Ugh. During Sacrament I can see a beautiful picture of Jesus at the Last Supper out in the hallway through an open door and I focus on that or in my mind imagine being at The Garden of Gethsemane, the Last Supper and Jesus rising from the Garden Tomb. I know it's important to be there to renew my covenants and that's why I go. Sometimes I have the physical energy and emotional strength to do all 3 meetings and sometimes I come home. Yes, the Church is full of imperfect people but my allegiance is to God first and so I go, even when it's uphill all the way and I'd never trust any of them with my secrets. Its tough and only with Heavenly Father will we find complete understanding and acceptance, it's certainly pushed me closer to Him, in order to cope. I do know this is the true Church and every now and again, when travelling, we run into such gentle, loving, warm, kind, spiritual people that I am reminded there are many like that out there. It gives me heart.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dear sister, you are a thoughtful person with gentle persuasion...thank you for your positive post

      Delete
    2. Primary!! My testimony is what it has become today because of those beautiful, wonderful little people. They saved me during a time when I needed to feel heaven close and didn't feel like any of the adults could relate to what I was going through. Their innocence and beautiful faith kept my candle burning until finally I had passed through my trial of faith. Over several years I served as the pianist, then chorister, then teacher, then back to cherished and finally was called to be the primary President. I all never forget the day I was released and all the children wrapped me up in a group hug. It was the most loved I have ever felt and I swear I was looking for the angels to descend. Primary is not babysitting. It is a gift. There is a reason Jesus wanted to be with the children. They are balm for the wounded soul. If you need a boost, ask to be with the children!

      Delete
    3. Primary!! My testimony is what it has become today because of those beautiful, wonderful little people. They saved me during a time when I needed to feel heaven close and didn't feel like any of the adults could relate to what I was going through. Their innocence and beautiful faith kept my candle burning until finally I had passed through my trial of faith. Over several years I served as the pianist, then chorister, then teacher, then back to cherished and finally was called to be the primary President. I all never forget the day I was released and all the children wrapped me up in a group hug. It was the most loved I have ever felt and I swear I was looking for the angels to descend. Primary is not babysitting. It is a gift. There is a reason Jesus wanted to be with the children. They are balm for the wounded soul. If you need a boost, ask to be with the children!

      Delete
    4. I so agree, when I was released as Primary President several years ago and I thought my heart would break. My testimony was so out there. Being released and being back with the women in RS was difficult. I am so glad I found this.

      Delete
    5. AnonymousMay 24, 2016

      I didn't know where to reply so please forgive me if this wasn't the right place. I have been a convert for a number of years now but haven't truly ever felt "included". For one reason or another, I have faced so many of the things in this article I couldn't believe it showed up on my FB page. However, the Lord works in many ways and the person who posted it is someone whom I believe the Lord trusted to get it to me. I am at the point where I am TERRIFIED of going to church. I have health issues so I can't always get to church (I might wake up on a Sunday and may not be able to muster the energy to get to church), I don't currently have a car (thus it is hard to get to church on a regular basis), I am divorced (no wonderful husband to sit next to in Sacrament meeting), I have children who are ADAMENTLY AGAINST me being in the church, I am afraid of failing at ANYTHING my bishop might ask of me, I have been told by another Sister that I was "a failure at being part of the church and that my life was a poor example to the other sisters" at a time when I truly needed the church's help and since then I've been afraid to ask for anything....even a ride to church. I think I truly act in a way which IS an example of how I want my children to think of me AND in a way I wish to think Heavenly Father wants of me. I couldn't believe that anyone else has these fears and struggles about getting to church on Sundays. It does make me feel like there are others; though my struggles might be different; have struggles of their own. It is definitely one thing to believe in the Book of Mormon and try to live the gospel and then deal with the true every day things that might trip us all up. Thank you for putting into words the struggles that some of us find hard to get over PS I would have put up my name and not gone for anonymous but couldn't figure out how to do it so I will just put my first name. Darlene P. CT, USA

      Delete
    6. Darlene P....I hope somehow you read this. Your post made me so sad. Three years ago my neighborhood got moved into another ward that is old, established, steeped in tradition, and NOT AT ALL open to new people or new ideas. And before the boundary change we were in the most open, loving, wonderful ward on earth (amazing how those two wards can be right next to each other yet WORLDS away). It is a struggle for me to go to church most weeks because even after three years and my husband being in the Bishopric I still don't feel a part of this ward. "Included" isn't just for converts...I've been a member my whole life. The judgmental nature of many of those in my current ward (especially those who have been here for years and years and years and their parents and grandparents before them) makes it really hard to be there. I SOOOOO wish you and I lived close to each other (I'm on the other coast) and I would happily pick you up each week and we could sit together and make it through together. Please don't let a crazy woman (the one who said you were a failure) keep you from going to church. The fact that she would ever SAY anything like that to another human being, much less a sister in her ward, only shows that SHE is the FAILURE, not you. Sheesh. Please try to find that one "safe" person in the ward...there has to be one in there but sometimes it takes a little digging. And you might start with the bishopric wives or single moms...there is nothing I would appreciate more than someone who wanted to sit with me and my kids and help me out during sacrament meeting while my husband sits up on the stand (I had awesome helpers in the old ward). But please don't let the crazies keep you from going to church. If I can do it, you can do it! Let's do it together!

      Delete
  3. AnonymousMay 19, 2016

    Thank you for this post. Church became so painful for me after my son came out and left the church. I found new appreciation for going to church even when it completely hurts to do so. And, I asked to be put in primary where I wouldn't have to listen to stupid Sunday school comments about the "gay agenda." �� Primary is a safe place.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for writing this. I have a daughter who believes in the Church with her whole heart, but won't go because she knows her life choice is not accepted.

      Delete
    2. Yes! I asked for a Primary calling for the EXACT same reason! Know that you are not alone. I love being the chorister and I go to church to worship my God, who sometimes seems a lot different than other people's God. But I go, because I know that due to my faithfulness, my beautiful, fabulous, gay son will be offered everything I am offered, so I worship and I love and I forgive and I laugh at them when they are being dumb and bigoted. It helps.

      Delete
  4. AnonymousMay 19, 2016

    I remember it hurt to go to church when I reached the age of 31 as a single male. I wished others could understand what I was going through. But ultimately I had to realize that they did not have to understand the cross I had to bear. It was me who needed to understand it and the only way I was going to understand it was if I was at church partaking of the sacrament and renewing my covenants with the Lord, showing Him, and really only Him, that I was willing to put Him first, before myself, or anyone else, and let Him heal my frustrations, and make me who He wants me to be. I realized that everyone going to church is hurting in one way or another and I started trying to be for them what they needed from Christlike association. God bless all of you out there who hurt in one way or another. Hang in there! It will pass! Let God make of it (of you) something greater than you can even envision for yourself.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. dear brother,
      thank you for sharing of your challenges in life and how you made your peace with 'the congregation'. sometimes when i go to church, it is easy to think all those smiling faces are because they have it 'right with the Lord' and that their lives are relatively problem free... but then i am reminded that there are saints who i know on a personal level...i am aware of their struggles and yet they still remain faithful, come to church, partake of the sacrament and quietly listen to the speakers in quiet reverence. i remind myself that the days we live in may not be paradisaical... very clearly, these are the end days before Christ's return. when i find myself discouraged but continue to make an effort to get to church and partake of the sacrament, that may be my best effort in that time of challenges, and that is acceptable to the Lord 'in the moment'. i like your last sentence..."Let God make of it (of us) something greater than we could even envision for ourselves."...our hope, our strength is embedded in this eternal hope that Christ will effect a change in us; like the unclean woman in the throng that was brave enough to touch the hem of Christ's robe. No one in that throng was aware of the leap of faith needed to produce that effort of stretching forth her hand in that throng and chancing contact with Christ...except Christ himself. His gentle answer to the woman who had touched the hem of his robe was to assure her... 'go thy way as your faith has made thee whole'. In the end it isn't about comparing my life situations against someone else's supposed care free life; because that is a limited perception on my part...for we all have our challenges. some days are better than others when it comes to dealing with my challenges. when I am weak or doubtful of my ability to master & conquer...i realize i can't go back in time and be that brave woman who touched Christ's hem; but symbolically i can become energized, more positive and be of unwavering faith in His ability to make me whole....How?...by 'touching and empowering myself' when I read His holy words and incorporate the principles of his teachings into my life.

      Delete
  5. AnonymousMay 19, 2016

    Thank you for this post. I ran across it on Facebook. Another user had pressed "like" and it showed up on my newsfeed. I am a male. A brother. I dread going to Sacrament. I am single and have never been married, never had kids. A chose that lifestyle for reasons I won't go into here, but for which some of you might guess. I am dedicated to the gospel. However, I have things which I keep to myself which cause me deep pain. Getting back tot he subject, I dread going to sacrament. I feel alone. I feel isolated at sacrament. Not only that, everyone in my ward sits in the exact same seats at church and I never know where to sit. No one ever offers for me to sit with them and I am always wondering where to sit. Whose seat am I sitting in? Which family did I just displace from their bench for me to sit here? I appreciated what you said about finding someone to sit next to. I really need to find someone to trust and talk to them during the week and speak to them about sitting next to them during church. But rest assured ladies, you are NOT the only ones who struggles with feelings like this. There are many other circumstances where you can feel this way. Do not feel like you are alone!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please, please find someone you can confide in. I promise there is at least one, and probably more, who are very empathetic. And if you ever find yourself in the Bainbridge Island, WA ward, look for me or my husband and we will welcome you to our row with open arms. ❤️ Jenny Van Aken

      Delete
    2. Diane haggartMay 20, 2016

      Hi my husand is second councler in a bishopbric for a 31-45 years old midsingles. I know in our ward many were in the same boat in the family ward. Feeling scared and alone. It's amazing how just just this change help many in our ward because everyones in the same boat . Single no kids . In our ward we try to e friendly to everyone, The best thing ive seen in our ward Is all the wonderful friendships that have developed .We are truly becomeing a ward family. If you live on the west side of SLC we would love to have you come To come the Granger single adults ward in Magna Ut. We even have a FB page called its a granger singles ward thing. I feel your pain about the whole sitting thing .Hubby and I went to a ward that 3 diffrent people had chased us out of 3 diffrent pews.saying we always sit there. Even though we got there extra early to sit.Hubby and I now make it a point to ask people to sit with us so they never have the cruel experine we have had .Its also a great way to get to know all the new people in the ward.

      Delete
    3. I try to say hello and be friendly to new faces, but with three crazy kids I'm trying to wrangle and keep quiet, I'm sure that I fall really short in that department. Personally, I would LOVE it if someone (who didn't mind our messy, sometimes loud) row asked if he or she could sit with us in Sacrament meeting. And I'd be sure to seek that person out in the future to say hello (even if he/she didn't want to ever sit with us again.)

      Delete
    4. People need to be reminded that the is no assigned seating. LOL
      If you were in my ward, you'd be welcome to sit with us... but we're always really late. ;)

      Delete
  6. I have a child with a disability who is 8 and 3 others younger. Sundays suck big time!!! But, we keep going for the reasons you listed. I keep going for them! There were times when my husband was deployed, I was pregnant and had 3 who were 5 and under, I didn't have many close friends, and I just didn't feel like going, BUT we did! It is easier to not go once I missed the previous Sunday too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I have a child with a disability who is 8 and 3 others younger. Sundays suck big time!!! But, we keep going for the reasons you listed. I keep going for them! There were times when my husband was deployed, I was pregnant and had 3 who were 5 and under, I didn't have many close friends, and I just didn't feel like going, BUT we did! It is easier to not go once I missed the previous Sunday too.

    ReplyDelete
  8. My then husband was ex communicated had gone to jail. Two of my sons passed away....the rest were in crisis. Sunday's were the hardest day of my week. It reminded me of everything I had lost. I kept focussing on the struggle of my pioneer ancestors and got up and went. Realizing this I was able to fight through the pain!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousMay 19, 2016

      Those are some really hard trials Karen. I am so impressed with your determination and desire to keep on fighting.

      Delete
    2. My husband has been in prison 5 years now. We had only been married a couple of years when he was incarcerated. I soon decided to go back to church after a 20 year hiatus for these exact reasons. I have 2 sons. One whom is now 16,was baptized when he was 12. That was hard on him because he wasn't already a part of the "group". It took a couple of years before the YM all opened up. Athletics helped a lot. My 13 year old son has Down syndrome. He loves going to church. He's a social butterfly. All that going on plus 4 surgeries in less than 4 years, Sunday mornings are the only mornings that my sons fight and it's all I can do to keep getting ready. I'm ALWAYS in a bad mood at church. I'm exhausted and at the end of my rope from the previous loooong week. Physically, I typically can't make it the full 3 hours. I loathe RS and all the talks about family. I get it already. How about we all share why it was hard to get here today. Let's open up and stop pretending that everything is ok. It's not ok! I still have another year before my husband gets home and 1 week out from my last surgery, I'm absolutely fatigued. Sometimes, most of the time, I don't want to go. I go for Father and Jesus and I go for my sons. I do take an anti stress coloring book for relaxing while listening, but can always tune out if I need to.

      Delete
    3. AnonymousMay 20, 2016

      LoLo: It sounds like life for you is very difficult right now and that you are experiencing your own refiner's fire. I think it would be difficult in your circumstances to go to church because you are acting as a single parent and it's a struggle to get ready and get your children there. I haven't been in your exact shoes but I have been a single parent of three children one of which recently passed away from an addiction, and one that has a medical and a mental disorder. It was very hard for me to go and take my children by myself. It was hard for me to go while my child was struggling with addiction. I think this time will pass or you may find added strength to help you bear your trials. You are and will be able to relate to other women experiencing extreme difficulty, and there are many! (I now have a child with down's syndrome and she loves going to church. She is difficult to manage but we try to make it work!) The reason I go to church is to partake of the sacrament and to feel the spirit. If I try to prepare myself, I may find one talk, quotation, testimony, scripture etc which will help strengthen my faith in the Savior and His message.

      Delete
  9. AnonymousMay 19, 2016

    I don't know about other "mid-singles," but for me it is hard because I feel like everyone sees me as a failure. Like some kind of damaged goods, I am in my late 30's with no spouse, no children...no hope. I have a strong testimony of he gospel, but as yet have not found "the one." Is it so hard for people to understand hat some of us are the undesirables and sending us to mid-singles wards and activities only reinforces that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I usually don't respond or comment on posts but I just can not let it go unsaid. I too am a "midsingle" never married no children. We are NOT undesirables! We are daughters and sons of a loving Heavenly Father! So what we aren't married yet so what we don't have children yet that doesn't mean we can't be a friend, a confidante, or a mother. We just get to experience it in a different way. It's not bad or better just different, please don't look at your life as less in any way! What you believe what you project is what others believe. There are times where you will need to fake it till you make it but I promise you can find happiness and joy in your circumstances now. And remember you are an external being you have eternal potential don't limit yourself to the 30ish years you've been on earth! You have eons to find "the one"! If you are ever in Vegas (I'll be the single one) we can have a nice chat. But do me a favor never forget you are loved beyond measure!

      Delete
    2. Amen. I hope you continue to share your testimony with other mid-singles. You all have so much to give to the church and its members. You are valued sons and daughters of God and your divine potential is every bit as grand and glorious as the married members around you.

      Delete
    3. You're so not alone! It's really easy to feel like a failure because the culture (not the gospel) teaches us that our value is in getting married and having a family. But your Father in Heaven doesn't see you that way. He sees you as His brilliant, beautiful, glorious daughter that He loves beyond measure. He has a plan for you. It's very, very hard when that plan doesn't align with the culture, but remember that He's got your back and He's taking care of you, even if it's hard to see that right now. And He's all that matters. You are as valued and loved as every other person and it'll be worth it in the end. I'm a mid-single too and I really believe that in the end, it won't be as big a deal as it feels now. The real tragedy would be walking away from the gospel, even though going to Church and dealing with the culture is really, really hard. Stick it out! You're not alone.

      Delete
    4. AnonymousMay 25, 2016

      I do empathize with you. I am nearly 60, single, never married, with no children. I joined the Church when I was 19 and had high hopes of marriage. Alas! No husband, no children. I have suffered depression for most of my life. I struggle to fit in sometimes. I am developing physical limitations that really challenge my desire to go to church. However, I go. I go to feel even closer to the Lord and Heavenly Father by taking the Sacrament. I go to feel the Spirit so that I can face my work week. I go to worship the Savior and learn of Him. I go to serve others. There was a time when I just couldn't face going to church. That lasted 9 months. I just couldn't stay away. I needed to be fed spiritually. Sometimes it hurts to go to church, especially on Mother's Day, Christmas time and other special occasions when family is the main topic or influence of the day. But I hope, oh I hope, that there will be a family I can create on the other side of the veil! I need to learn how here so that I can create it there.

      Delete
  10. I attend church regularly but you're asking for surviving tips so here you go: I avoid days that hurt. Mother's Day and Father's Day notably. So my advice is don't force yourself to go when you know it's going to hurt. IT'S OKAY! Just make sure you DO go on other days. It's also okay to leave the classroom and take a walk around the corridors or around the building. If you know a lesson is coming up in sunday school that you're not sure about try volunteering to substitute or just lend a hand in primary instead.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousMay 19, 2016

      Seriously! Church should just be canceled on mother's day and father's day. Worst days of the year!!!! I feel that way and have a very traditional lds family.

      Delete
    2. Diane haggartMay 20, 2016

      I disageree in our midsingles ward the speakers talked about how there mothers influnced them in RS we talked about how all women have mothering instints Shuch a being the perfect aunt taking time for kids Mothering our other sisters who we visit teach.This was the best mothers day Ive ever had on mothers day. I was so glad Hubby was serving in a mid singles ward.

      Delete
    3. The truth is we all have struggles. I would say everyone struggles with something. Sometimes we think there is that perfect family but I have come to learn that we all have challenges. I have been on both ends of the spectrum. I had a hard time conceiving and it was horrible for a long time. I have also had the opportunity to have my hubby be a Bishop, on the high council and now a Stake President. I have seen an array of people and their struggles. I also had a sun come home early from his Mission for medical while my hubby was the Stake President. It has been very painful to go to church but I have come to learn that we are all on the same journey. I try to never judge anyone and I always try to look for the sister that is sitting alone. If I focus on other people and how I can help them it make my burdens lighter. Important thing is to focus on the Savior and how much he loves you and knows what u are going through.

      Delete
  11. Thank you for your article. I have been feeling this way for a while now. It's nice to hear that I'm not all alone.

    ReplyDelete
  12. AnonymousMay 19, 2016

    Thank you so much for your words. We came from a big city to a small town with two Wards. You didn't talk to the people in the other Ward -- it was taboo. Then we found out this family was related to this family and it all intertwined and if you talked to the wrong one it felt as if you were cast out. We have grudges between sisters over 20 years. We were married with no children at the time and trying to fit in. I had a friend who didn't want to hang out with me because I was too fat. When we got pregnant with our first child, I had a sister tell me she had raised her kids and wasn't going to hang out with me anymore. We girded up our loins and probably broke every rule, but we are happier for it. Finding a safe person helped me get through my anxiety attacks. I don't do baby showers and have stopped feeling guilty about it. I serve with a group of women who have taught me so much joy and love. I still see those who are not there because of who the Bishop is, or boundaries changed and "their" friends are in the other Ward. I try not to judge and pray that my heart and their hearts will soften.

    It is hard some Sundays, but I know I need to take the sacrament and renew my covenants. I've learned the hard way to not let others influence me with their words and actions. It wasn't immediate, but it did come, slowly. Hang in there. They are many just like you and are afraid to speak up. I am so thankful for my Savior, Jesus Christ, who loves me in spite of me and he loves you too. I have a new favorite saying I got from a podcast: "Go and light the dark."

    ReplyDelete
  13. AnonymousMay 19, 2016

    Sunday's are hard for me because I'm the only LDS person in my family. The church is all about family so it makes me sad. When I die, I may be alone, I'm not sure it's worth it anymore. I love my heavenly father yes but I love my children as well... I hate missing sacrament but sometimes I just can't do it. I always sit in the back by myself everyone in my ward has families or are older and sit with friends. It's like I don't have a connection.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is all worth it. My friend is in the same boat and struggling a lot. Try to pray for that church friend to help give you support. I'm 40 and single and mine turned out to be an 85 year old convert. Hang in there. I know I am trying.

      Delete
    2. AnonymousMay 20, 2016

      I know what you mean! I come from a small town where I felt alienated by my exes family and even my own children after my divorce. When I moved, the ward was so huge I felt totally lost. Sometimes I would sit by myself because my kids were with their dad and my new hubby didn't feel welcome in our ward. Those days I would picture the Lord coming into the room and sitting by me. It was so healing! I know He is there for us all!

      Delete
    3. Being a member of the church is important and will help us if we strive to follow Christ, but you will NOT be alone in the next life! You aren't alone here either, it's just hard to understand that sometimes. We call God "OUR" Heavenly Father because he is! We call each other Brother and Sister because we ARE. I would love to have a sister join me in church with my family; someone in your ward would also... just tricky to find them! Best of luck, and don't give up!

      Delete
    4. AnonymousMay 20, 2016

      You won't be alone. Your family will get another chance on the other side of the veil. That's just not what their journey is in this life, at least not yet.

      Delete
    5. AnonymousMay 20, 2016

      There is a video about Temples where Elder Holland is talking about his wife and say's "Heaven wouldn't be Heaven with out her" he was very teary eyed speaking about, and it hit me so hard because I have family who have left the church, and I felt the same! Heaven won't be heaven with out my family. When I pray about it I don't get an exact answer, just that God loves me. Its so hard though, I feel your pain.

      Delete
    6. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

      I wish everyone could realize when we are having these feelings & thoughts that the adversary is working very hard to have us feel this way and it is because of him that we have these negative thoughts and feelings! I am a 67 year old woman that still struggles with many of the things mentioned here and I think everyone does in their own ways, from reading all the post's It has made me think of things I could do in my own ward to be a better friend and person instead of feeling sorry for myself or looking for something to irritate me. I will keep pressing forward every Sunday and for that matter every day. Faith is a big deal! We need to have faith and help it grow every day.

      I raised my three children basically on my own and took them to church every week, when two of them got older they chose not to go to church and their father said I could not force them to go. He was inactive, had a drinking problem and a smoker, and was not much support. One of my two children that quit going to church have come back, she is a strong woman and she, as everyone else stills struggles but keeps pushing along. Yes, one of the reasons that have kept me going through the years was my children, two of three are active, and I Love, Love the other child and his family with all my heart!!! I have faith that in Heavenly Fathers time my sons family will come around,until then my job is to keep loving them. My husband passed away several years ago and made some wonderful changes in his life before he did.
      I am still attending church on my own and it is still hard, but my goal every Sunday is to look for the positive things to take home with me for the week and when I miss a Sunday for some reason, I definitely feel an emptiness throughout the week.

      Everyone has a story, I think this page would strengthen testimony's and build faith in others. I have learned through life that what we pray for does not always come over night, but with faith, it comes in Gods time.
      I loved Elder Jeffrey R. Hollands talk in April 2016 conference, I suggest everyone read this.
      God knows each and everyone of us individually! The adversary is a miserable man and he wants us to fail and be miserable also! Whenever we start having these thoughts and feeling bad because of how someone else is acting or treating us in church, I have always kept this thought in my head " I am not coming to church for the people, I am coming for ME so I can try to be the best I can be to return to my Father in Heaven, my brother Jesus Christ and my loved ones who have passed on before me."
      Thank you for sharing these posts and starting this page.

      Delete
  14. I think it's important to remember that we all struggle with something and often it is painful. We knew there would be hard things in our mortal experience, but we don't have to go thru it alone. There is One who authors peace and He can help us accept our challenges and have peace in the midst of them.. Don't give up, it may take time, but it keep being obedient and it will come. I found that when I focused on what was missing or broken, that's when I felt most empty and pained, but as I choose to focus on what I do have and express my gratitude then I can be filled with His love. I give my pain to God and thru Christ's atonement can be healed. It doesn't change my circumstances, it changes my outlook. I have found His peace in my struggles and it gives me strength to keep going and keep trying.

    ReplyDelete
  15. AnonymousMay 20, 2016

    Okay I love going to Church, probably not the place to confess that here but the reason I am writing is by "listening" to you. I realize my huge fear is that I do something that would make you not want to come to Church. The first 10 years of my married life it did hurt to go. I was married to a very inactive member (Still married to hime but we are now serving a mission together and just celebrated our 43 anniversary last week. One time when I had 3 young children and a husband that could care less about the gospel at the time, I got my children ready and wen to church and pasted on that smile mentioned above. As I walked in I ran into my husband's first cousin and friend of mine and with the smile on my face asked her how she was. She said she was so frustrated and upset because yet again she had to get her children ready for Church by herself because her husband was at a church leadership meeting. She will never know how bad she hurt me because I would have given anything to have my husband in any church meeting and couldn't see it ever happening in this life time. But I knew I could handle it two ways, one become more angry and bitter or two learn from it. But that is my fear that I am the one who causes someone to not want to come to church. in our home ward is a wonderful lady who is loved by all the 7th and 8th graders she has ever taught. But she has never been married. She has nieces and nephews who love her. I have always worked to make sure she knows how much I appreciate ALL she has done for us in the ward as parents of those early teens in 7th and 8th grade. Every year on November 19th, my husband's birthday, so I remember the date easily. She has an especially hard time because one of her most favorite former students who had just gotten his license to drive a couple of months before was killed in a car accident. I try to send her a message, on Facebook, by mail or if it falls on a Sunday, a hug. I am not perfect but I fear being the cause of someone else's discomfort. Thank you for this blog as well as for the comments here, to remind me that while I may love going to church, not everyone else does, and I want to do what I can to help others feel accepted, loved, cherished.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Beautiful comments - I can so relate to much of what you wrote - thank you!!

      Delete
    2. Beautiful comments - I can so relate to much of what you wrote - thank you!!

      Delete
    3. Thank you. Beautifully said

      Delete
    4. Thank you. Beautifully said

      Delete
  16. AnonymousMay 20, 2016

    Good info. I am one of those that has a hard time in church. I NEVER miss church.. maybe once every 3 years. I would like to think that a ward is a ward is a ward.. but its not always true. Im in new ward that is much more stimulating than my last. I Know that our church is a LAY MINISTRY.. but does it have to be a BAD MINISTRY? For me, my biggest challenge is hearing talks or lessons that have no thought or no planning. Priesthood mtg is usually the worst. With the gospel message and our understanding, we should be the most enthusiastic people on earth. You can attend a high school program and see kids stand well poised.. but Adults reading a script in church? No excuse to me. To the judgemental attitude that can be found in church.. Yes, its there.. Yes its real... But Ive found that everyone HAS problems or WILL! We better be careful if we are ever tempted to gloat. Now, with all this said, I agree 100 percent in what is taught here.. Attending church is mostly taking the sacrament. Its not authorized to take it anywhere else.. Yes, its a commandment to attend.. But what I would say is this.. For me at least.. Probably 3 out of 4 meetings are a little drab.. but If I don't attend consistently, I miss those times when there is an amazing experience. Consistency is the key.. Showing up is the key. I seriously think its the key to life.. Show up and be consistent.. it pays off. It really does.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Practice continual forgiveness. If the people around you knew the depth of your secret pain, they would typically feel sympathy or empathy for you. But even if they would, it won't diminish the hurt you're feeling about a situation that you may not be able to change. It may come down to forgiving people for the ignorant comments. Forgiving yourself for the hurt you're feeling. Forgiving other woman who plainly can't understand your circumstance because they are not traveling the same path as you. It's a tough sacrifice to make, especially when you're the one hurting, but forgiving others has a way of inviting light into the dark places and healing the hurts there.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Sometimes when I don't feel like going to church, I will listen to the Tabernacle Choir, music and the spoken word, then stay home. That helps me meditate and think of Christ. Then I feel as though I have had some type of spiritual uplift for the day.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Well done, and thank you very much.

    ReplyDelete
  20. If I see drabness or a thoughtless thing spoken that means I am being called to action. In other words when I see someone suffering or harming others I am called to pray for them (or maybe to more action than that). When church makes me see an inadequacy in my self then I am being called to pray for me... Nothing happens without prayer first.
    So I think of it like this, how is anyone going to think to pray for me if I don't show up, or me for them if they don't show up.

    ReplyDelete
  21. AnonymousMay 20, 2016

    What if someone at church was terrible to your special needs child(he is autistic and was 2 and they put him in a room and closed the door when all he was a little louder than you would like because he's non verbal and makes noises when he sings) and then your newly converted husband who travels for work, couldn't come to one of his home teachee aid to give a blessing and she blasted him to his bishop, elder q president and stake president? Every single leader I went to told me to calm down. The church needs to focus on more special needs issues with children, training people and and not over tired SAHM'S in nursery. People don't make the church true but unfortunately you can't go to church alone. I would if I could.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousMay 22, 2016

      I totally agree with your comment about the special needs needing to be addressed by the church, I have 2 ADHD children and I am ADHD too and I ha e been trying for years now to find a way to reconcile how they behave and what the church teaches and have not been able to yet. It is those times that I have to accept on faith that the God I worship is not the same God others, who are intolerant of and treat special needs people as expendable and unworthy of patience or understanding simply because they do not behave as the "church" dictates they should behave and therefore must be bad people who are beyond slavation, worship.

      Delete
    2. It is so obvious to me that The adversary tries so hard to break us down by making us suseptible to these feeling about church and church -related activities.Many times I have tried so hard on Sunday Mornings to force myself and children to get ready even through the pain and utter exhaustion that is always worse on the Sabbath for some reason....and then I get as far as driving there and I end up breaking down and not being able to bring myself to enter. I know that Heavenly Father recognizes my effort and only he really knows my heart and it complexeties. He knows that I face the guilt of not going even if I have a great reason, and he knows the sacrifices I make to even get to that point. It helps to read others comments and know that eventhough this may feel hopeles, it is just temporary, and my testimony is not something so fragile that church attendance can destroy it. I just have to keep trying eventhough I feel like giving up so often, i havevto hold on to the faith I have.

      Delete
    3. It is so obvious to me that The adversary tries so hard to break us down by making us suseptible to these feeling about church and church -related activities.Many times I have tried so hard on Sunday Mornings to force myself and children to get ready even through the pain and utter exhaustion that is always worse on the Sabbath for some reason....and then I get as far as driving there and I end up breaking down and not being able to bring myself to enter. I know that Heavenly Father recognizes my effort and only he really knows my heart and it complexeties. He knows that I face the guilt of not going even if I have a great reason, and he knows the sacrifices I make to even get to that point. It helps to read others comments and know that eventhough this may feel hopeles, it is just temporary, and my testimony is not something so fragile that church attendance can destroy it. I just have to keep trying eventhough I feel like giving up so often, i havevto hold on to the faith I have.

      Delete
  22. I joined the church as a young adult, in the middle of a divorce... I have been through the wringer on tough times, one time I attended a ward that treated me so badly no one, not even the Bishop would talk to me, because I married a man of a different race than mine. Never mind we were sealed in the Temple.... I made up my mind that the Church belonged to me just as much as it did to anyone else in that ward. I would go every Sunday, often sit in the foyer by myself and weep quietly, tears running down my face, Sunday after Sunday... No one would look me in the face or talk to me or respond when I tried to talk to them... You know what... it was so worth the pain... to be able to take the sacrement... Sadly no one changed while I lived there, my husband was transferred and we moved... Later I cried again when I found out what terrible things had happened to members who were the ring leaders of our treatment... I felt so bad for them, and I know it was because Heavenly Father saw and heard my tears. He tried to teach them in other ways but they would have none of it... My point is, go... just go, sit in the foyer, cry in front of those who hurt you... You just may be able to get through to them and they can learn a lesson about true compassion and not judging others..

    ReplyDelete
  23. I too have had my times where is was really hard to go to Church. I married my first husband at age 26. He committed suicide 10 years later, leaving me alone with 3 small children. It took years but I turned to the Savior and his atonement healed the sore spots in my heart. I have learned, to choose to not be offended by people who don't or won't ever understand. I have learned to make my choices and accept the consequences, what ever they maybe. The Church is true in spite of those who would make your life harder. Thank goodness for Jesus Christ and the Atonement which makes it possible for everything to be better.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Yes sometimes it does hurt....... There was a time I didn't go for a very long time......... but one day.... I decided I better go... That was a pivotal point for me.. My oldest son was living in a residential program for adults with disabilities. At that same moment I was sitting in church wondering why I was there..... My Son's Staff took him to church.... Which happened to the same moment my son gave a hug to President Gordon B Hinckley. ( His Staff was in his Ward..... you never know when he will show up... Staff had to hold my son back when he saw the Prophet... But as soon as Sacrament was over.. He rushed up and gave him a gentle hug..... (body guards couldn't stop my Gentle Giant bull moose of a son) That was the same exact time I sat there crying wondering why I was at church........ I then got this overwhelming warm feeling that things will alright.............That was many years ago.... But even now.. sometimes I struggle....but I go.. Even if I sit in the hallway. I go! I know many of you have your own reasons and you do struggle....... but just remember...... Your Heavenly Father LOVES you unconditionally... He is always there for you when you don't even think you deserve it...... YOU DO and you matter........ so just go.... even if your just going through the motions. It will get better....... I promise.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I really needed this. I really have a hard time with Mother's Day since losing a child. I skip that Sunday every year and I refuse to feel bad about it.

    ReplyDelete
  26. AnonymousMay 20, 2016

    "...in the quiet heart are hidden sorrows that the eye can't see..." We never know, do we? The best comment I can make is to put your relationship with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ first and foremost in your life. They are always there for us, and if you keep on keeping on, things become much clearer AND tolerable. Love to all of you fellow brothers and sisters who struggle...that means all of us.

    ReplyDelete
  27. AnonymousMay 20, 2016

    I appreciated reading all these comments. It hurts me big time to go to church, but one of my great comforts and solace is attending the temple, so I do at least go to sacrament meeting to partake of the sacrament and also because it is a requirement for a temple recommend. that being said, I dread Sundays. I live in a small town, gossip is rampant here, as are elephant memories and 20 year old grudges. There is a group of nurses in our ward that feel they have been wronged by my actions requesting an investigation into an incident that caused the death of my father. I 've long since forgiven the incident, however, they harbour grudges and I am treated quite badly when I attend Relief Society especially. It's really difficult to hear warm fuzzy things about how wonderful, kind, and thoughtful our" ward family" is when I say a friendly hello whenever I walk in and they turn their backs to me, refuse to speak with me, and I end up sitting alone in the back. I have not been extended a calling at all either, which has only magnified my feelings of isolation. I did try and speak with the bishop about it, he has told me that I offend people because I am outspoken and that I am not well liked. Fair enough, I do call a spade a spade, but it's my personality, and isn't the gospel about embracing and celebrating our differences and not expecting us to conform to some man made ideal of how the perfect LDS woman looks, behaves, and speaks? and didn't Heavenly Father create me too? Am I not also one of his daughters?? Doesn't he love me too? What should be a place where I am uplifted and recharged is for me pure torture. I feel like a piece of crap when I get home from church, so until I relocate somewhere else, anywhere else, I choose not to attend. Relief Society, anyway

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have been treated horribly at church for years. The temple is the only place I feel solace. Good for you for still going to sacrament so you can go to the temple. Just do what you can and don't be too hard on yourself. The temple is way more important than RS. Satan has a grip on so many members making wards toxic. That is not the Lords way!

      Delete
    2. Michelle PriceMay 21, 2016

      Your bishop is wrong. Everyone deserves to have the chance and blessing to serve. It's not his church and he has no right to deny you those blessings. So what if people don't like you. There are plenty of ways to serve in the Church without needing the approval of others. I know it's hard, but keep doing what you're doing and don't worry about what others think about you. You'll be blessed for being kind and generous and they won't.

      Delete
    3. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

      Thank you Michelle, that's about how it feels for me. My patriarchal blessing that says one of the most important parts of my life is service in executive and administrative callings in the church. I feel as though all my time, talents, etc. that I covenant and consecrate for the building up of the kingdom are being rejected. I know this may be a poor way of seeing it, but if the church is the Lord's kingdom and I am not being given the chance to serve within that kingdom and The Lord is the head of that kingdom, has he also rejected me? I have never willingly broken his commandments and I love the Lord with all my heart, so why is he rejecting me? One of the things I am doing is that I have sort of made my own calling...There are those in our ward with special needs, my husband, (who also has no calling) and I decided we will seek out those in need of special attention, like widows, elderly, handicapped, mentally ill, etc. and do little things to brighten their days...visits, hugs, meals, whatever the spirit moves us to do for them. It's the only way we can stay sane. You're right about toxic environments, and we do our best to see that we don't contribute.

      Delete
    4. Anonymous the answer is: No the lord has nor rejected you, he sees, hears and understands all that is going on in your ward and will rain blessing on you and your family for being steadfast in your faith and actions. Years ago when I was complaining to a friend of mine about the gossiping and mean spirited things I observed other members in a old ward I was in, she told me something that has helped me along the way "The gospel is perfect, we humans are not" I have had and still do have a hard time going to church especially on fast and testimony sunday because I sometimes feel that we as members tend to use that day to pad ourselves on the back for being good and talk about things we did during the week or month instead of being a witness unto Christ and I know I am guilty of that my self. I know The Gospel is true and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints teaches the restored Gospel and the Book of Mormon is true and that Our Heavenly Father loves us.

      Delete
    5. JulieByTheSeaMay 23, 2016

      Hi. I would like to share a thought about things in our Patriarchal Blessings. Just the same as some women can't have children in this life won't be denied that blessing in the next life, it is the same with anything in our P.B. Maybe those callings are intended to be offered to you during the Millennium. I don't have children so I took comfort when I was told that not everything in our P.B. is intended for THIS mortal timeframe.

      WOW - am I ever glad I came across this blog post! Thank you to the post author and to everyone who has posted a comment.

      Delete
    6. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    7. You can always speak to your stake president and let them know you would like a calling and possibly a chance to go to another ward and explain what is happening. They let my Mom go to my brothers ward, even though she lived out of bounds. You are so loved by God and we are all made differently for a reason! We are all needed! We are all loved and special to him and we all have a great work to do. I love that you are seeking after those Christ would seek, what a blessing you are giving all those other people in your ward!

      Delete
  28. My heart if full of love and pain you my brothers and sisters as I have read your comments. Church is not easy for me due to my own struggles with anxiety and depression, however, my concerns pale in comparison to those I have read here today. I love each of you, I don't know you but I love you. I will hold space for you in my heart and add you to my prayers. I will try to be more aware of those around me and more sensitive to the hidden needs. May our beloved Father in Heaven bless you.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thank you so much. This is me and has been me over the past few years, enduring particularly nasty gossip,judgement etc. Even now I still need to leave Relief Society for some peace.But I go for Sacrament, to renew my covenants and to remember my Covenants I made in the Temple. Yes it is hard but I wont give up

    ReplyDelete
  30. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    I have health problems and find it hard to attend church every week. I am also the mother of a 2 year old and a 7 month old. They are very difficult to handle in church. My husband and I don't go to any meetings besides sacrament right now. It is exhausting to try and keep them happy but also listen to the speakers and feel the spirit. I have been in my ward for almost a year now and I know absolutely no one. I know that I am the one to blame for this as I have a hard time getting to know new people, but I feel extremely lonely at Church and just in life in general. I love having friends, but am often viewed as a bad friend or a lazy person because of my health problems. That being said, I had a singles ward bishop who told me that if I don't feel good enough to go to church that I could stay home and listen to conference talks and do family history work or indexing. When I do those things it really does help me feel closer to the Savior, even though I'm not renewing my covenants. It's better than nothing. I appreciate all of the comments on here. I know there are women (and men) who would give anything to be in my shoes: married with two beautiful children. I used to feel that way because I got married at 27. I know that I am so very blessed and yet I also know that I have very real and debilitating health problems. I think the most important thing is that I am trying. Like Elder Holland said: "the great thing about the gospel is we get credit for trying, even if we don’t always succeed."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Designer DonnaMay 21, 2016

      If you can make it to activities held on days other than Sunday, that will help you to get to know people. If you are in a big ward, it is easy to get lost. Try to find someone else who seems unconnected and introduce yourself. Lots of people have a hard time talking to strangers. You may also be in a rather "inbred" ward with extended families and those who have had the same friends for decades. Keep trying until you find someone to talk to regularly. And realize that things will get better as your kids get older.

      Delete
  31. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    It is just as hard for men. married 28yrs. and wife walked away. Could not make her happy no matter how hard I tried. It was as if my whole family had died at once. Then going to church, "Families can be together forever, sitting alone as a man, went to the temple a few weeks ago trying to do temple work, and sealings for female members of my relatives. Go to ask if there was any sisters doing initiatory and if they would do a few of mine. Question back to me was... where is your wife? Well... I don't have a ring on and I am single at this point... why are you asking? Went up that same day to do some husband and wife sealings for my relatives... Two other married couples there, and the officiator looks at me, again no ring on and single... were is your wife. I sighed and looked at him and said it is what it is. What if I had answered ... she died of a cancer after 28yrs of marriage, and I have been single ever since? Why do I need to explain I am single and it hurts??? The sisters when I asked if I could get help with the initiatory work after asking me where my wife was, and me telling her I was single, then replied, well you will have to get some women from your ward to do it for you... really??? Hey brother such and such...can I borrow your wife to go to the temple with me to do my families work? I wasn't asking for them to provide a special set of women to do it for me..just wanted to know if there was a sister in doing some initiatory work , and if there was, could they slip mine in for me. So... yes... it hurts being single. Even for men.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Designer DonnaMay 21, 2016

      Amazing insensitivity! I am a temple worker in the Boston Temple where we have several workers who are single for different reasons and others who come without spouses, also for various reasons. We don't have enough patrons to ever be that mean! Often it is just temple workers doing the sealings, and we are at the altar with unrelated people. No one cares. We would love to have you come to our temple; during the day we are often too short of men to be able to do any sealings. But being realistic, you could ask a single sister in your ward to help you out. If you would feel like it would seem uncomfortably like a date, ask a grandmother who is too old for you. And if the temple wants you to furnish your own patrons, you really need a total of two sisters and two brothers to be able to seal all the children. As for initiatories, the temple should be willing to do your female names. Your main problem would be getting them back to do the sealings. We are frequently instructed to try to make the temple experience as pleasant as possible for the patrons so they will want to come back. Did I mention that we have a shortage of patrons? Obviously keeping them happy is not a priority at your temple. Sigh. The gospel is true but sometimes the members can be a real pain!

      Delete
    2. Designer DonnaMay 21, 2016

      Amazing insensitivity! I am a temple worker in the Boston Temple where we have several workers who are single for different reasons and others who come without spouses, also for various reasons. We don't have enough patrons to ever be that mean! Often it is just temple workers doing the sealings, and we are at the altar with unrelated people. No one cares. We would love to have you come to our temple; during the day we are often too short of men to be able to do any sealings. But being realistic, you could ask a single sister in your ward to help you out. If you would feel like it would seem uncomfortably like a date, ask a grandmother who is too old for you. And if the temple wants you to furnish your own patrons, you really need a total of two sisters and two brothers to be able to seal all the children. As for initiatories, the temple should be willing to do your female names. Your main problem would be getting them back to do the sealings. We are frequently instructed to try to make the temple experience as pleasant as possible for the patrons so they will want to come back. Did I mention that we have a shortage of patrons? Obviously keeping them happy is not a priority at your temple. Sigh. The gospel is true but sometimes the members can be a real pain!

      Delete
    3. AnonymousMay 24, 2016

      Thank you for sharing that. I am a single female expatriate living outside the U.S., and recently went to an LDS women's conference, where I was repeatedly asked what my husband does in the country where I live ... as if I couldn't have been the person that made the decision to move there. I have been asked at the temple where my husband is as well. Hang in there.

      Delete
  32. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    I was a faithful active member, recommend holder, choir pianist and RS Councilor but have been totally inactive for about 3 years. I have had YW presidencies tell me my girls were not worth their time because they weren't perfect Molly Mormons, my husband was never spoken to and finally left the church and I had a bishop deny me a recommend because I didn't pay a full tithing on my husbands paycheck (I don't work). Because of the treatment they received my daughter's refuse to go, my husband has had his name removed and I struggled a lot of years with going alone. Tried all the tricks you suggested and still felt worse coming home than I did before. I have since started playing piano for Mass at the hospital chapel. At least there I feel welcome and excepted not like in the last three Mormon wards we have lived in. Mormons are very cliquey and if you don't fit the image you are made to feel worthless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It saddens me that you have gone through this experience. Please know that not all wards are like this. I am pleased to say that if you were to walk into my ward, I would be honoured to sit with you (and possibly even share my lollies during RS). The cliques in the church frustrate me so much that for about 2 and a half years I came out of RS crying out of loneliness. I used to make deals with my husband about leaving church early. I promised I would make his favourite meal or dessert if we could go home. I moved wards expecting it to be the same but it wasnt. Not every ward is the same and I hope, one day if you decide to go to church, you walk into a ward that isnt like the last three you have been in.

      If you get anything from this message, know that we may be on other sides of the world, but I understand what you went through. Please know that you are loved, even if you havent found the RS you fit into yet. (Yes I know that I sound like a conference talk) Thank you for not giving up on your talents either. Keep playing the piano and if we ever run into each other,know that you have a friend who is not one of those pretentious sisters who thinks they are too good for everyone else. We have to stick together.

      Delete
  33. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    I read all the comments, hoping to see a situation like mine, but no. I am a convert. My first husband baptized me, we had children, went to the temple, and then he walked out. I stayed active, although traumatized and lost. I married another Mormon (the wrong one) and have been unhappy for 30 years. The advice I always get is to preserve the family, pray more, be selfless. I have a testimony, love my family, want an eternal marriage, but now feel like a 2 time loser and can't see spending an eternity with someone I don't love. It is complicated. It is my fault for staying, but I was trying to do the right thing, hoping that my faith would make everything right. I love church but I hate going. I am empty and lost. Everything hurts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are not alone.

      Delete
    2. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

      I have a situation similar to yours. I'm not sure how to proceed with my life, I attend church and feel loved there but have exhausted myself trying to do the right thing through sacrifice and staying the course, praying for peace... I love God, I still believe, I know everyone struggles... But I've dedicated my life to two different husbands that have broken my heart. Is this what enduring to the end is supposed to B like?

      Delete
    3. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

      I, too, have a similar situation. I stayed in an unhappy marriage hoping to preserve the family unit, hoping that someday he would come back to the church, love me, be kind to his children. It hasn't happened, and now that the children have left home, and the church, I find myself asking what was it all for? And what is next? And what about the eternities? And although I don't have all the answers, I know that by my taking care of my own faithfulness, all will be made glorious for me in the end. I don't know how, but that is what faith is all about. So I go, alone for 30 plus years now, and I attend the temple because that is where I find this peace that keeps me looking forward. Life is a school, and it is up to me, and me alone, to make sure I graduate a better person than I was when I started.

      Delete
    4. AnonymousMay 22, 2016

      I am bawling as I write this to see others like me. My husband slept with his best friend's wife two weeks before we were married in the temple. Confession came 2 years later when they moved away. I was so stunned and repulsed by him, yet I was made to feel by my bishop that I had the greater sin if I didn't forgive. Twenty-five years later still with him is an endurance test to the end. Many years ago I realized (too late) that forgiveness didn't require my staying. We have 4 beautiful children together. Life has been more than difficult for the last 15 years as he has put us in great debt and made excuses for his lack of optons to work. His past pornography use has played a negative role in our bedroom. I stay for the kids, yet when an older son asks how we met and fell in love, I cringe and catch myself saying things like, "I must have liked him a lot." I go faithfully to church because I love the Lord and my Heavenly Father. I hate "families forever" lessons because I don't want him in the next life. I have been to counseling and been told I'm bad if I don't give myself to him often, even though I feel nothing, because that's what men HAVE to have. I hate going to the temple because that's where this prison all began. I pray every day for the strength to endure. I have been told in a recent blessing that I will have a strong family if I decide to go it alone, but I guess I lack the faith to believe it and to endure gossip that will be sure to follow.

      Delete
    5. AnonymousMay 22, 2016

      You are right, forgiveness does not mean you have to stay. I chose to stay for my four beautiful kids as well. I clung to this, because it was important to me that it was my choice to stay. I did not want to ever slip into feeling like a "victim" despite the emotional hurt and abuse. If you stay for your kids, make sure it is best for them that you do so. It has been 29 years and my last one is nearly on her way. I have spoken with 5 bishops along the way and all but one was sensitive to my situation. Not everyone will understand. It is interesting you mention a prison. I came across this video and it has really helped me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVoVRro0R2I I see myself as the prisoner, holding tight to my scriptures and prayer, having done my time and now the Savior is helping me escape those walls. The prisoner who enters is my husband. He needs to work through his stuff through Christ before he can be free. As I study the scriptures, there are numerous examples where God frees his people from their suffering. He does not expect us to submit indefinitely. (See 2 Nephi 8:22-24). I am praying now to know if it is time for this to end for me. I have a good LDS counselor who is helping me heal and be strong enough to leave if that is the direction I get. Prayers for you.

      Delete
    6. AnonymousMay 25, 2016

      I understand this totally. I stayed in a very abusive, unhealthy marriage much too long. When I felt strongly impressed that I needed to leave the marriage and told my bishop he told me I needed to stay for the kids because living in a single parent family would traumatize them. I stayed four more years until one day I caught my husband molesting one of our boys. That boy has had a lot of problems ever since. Had I listened to the spirit and not the bishop, perhaps that beautiful child would have had an easier life. I left the marriage after that incident and never looked back. Yes, there were those who judged me for it, yes, it was a difficult road at times, but there are worse things than being a single parent, and once I was obedient to what The Lord had in mind for me and had enough faith to follow it, I was blessed beyond belief. Get another counselor, you do NOT have to allow yourself to be degraded by your husband to fulfill his physical needs. Sorry to be crude here, but if it's only about him and his needs, perhaps he should use his hands and leave you out of it altogether. Pray for the strength to leave if that is what's best for you, The Lord will not fail you and I'm sure he didn't mean for you to live out your days in a hollow, empty existence. Love and prayers :)

      Delete
  34. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    I am a newly singled adult of 52 years. I too agree with Lola you are beautiful in every way. My heart aches for you and those that feel as if you don't measure up. It's easy for me to say you shouldn't feel that way. However those feelings are yours and for whatever reason you need to feel them just know I'm here to listen for anyone who needs me I'm in the Shoreview Ward in New Brighton Mn. Leanna Perrault. Please use me.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I have sons who have left the church and have no use for God or Jesus Christ. Relief Society is hard because of beaming mothers full of faith, hope, and no-fail advice for raising up perfect children. They did it/are doing it and I should be able to as well. Testimony meetings have been tough too when faced with listening to people bearing testimony of their righteous children instead of God and Jesus Christ. Missionary homecomings and farewells are the worst. I have sometimes choked back tears during these sacrament meetings and bolted out of church to sit-out Sunday School and RS in my car letting the tears flow freely. And you know those horrible books the bishoprics sometimes give to mothers on Mother's Day - the ones written by apostles, extolling the virtues of their own sainted mothers? Those are the worst possible gifts for those of us who can't raise a son to serve a mission, let alone become an apostle. I know another mother in our ward who is in the same situation and we lean on each other. We both struggle with feeling like failures as mothers. It has taken years for me to overcome the tendency (reinforced by the above situations) to dwell my children's lack of faith while overlooking how wonderful, kind, and successful they are overall. Nevertheless, I'm glad that I serve in Primary. I don't feel like as much of a failure there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know my mom struggles with this, with my siblings (and a little myself) and I always tell her that just because some of her children have left the gospel doesn't mean she was a bad mother. Doesn't mean she made a mistake along the way. She still raised us in the gospel, and we still have that way back in our hearts. Just because you don't have those "righteous" children doesn't mean you did anything wrong, or you weren't a good mom. You are a wonderful mom. I think sometimes as parents (myself included) we judge ourselves by the choices our children make. We shouldn't. We all have our choice we make in life, and no matter how much we have been taught we still decide on our own and it has no bearing on our parents. Children (all of us) can be very devout or not no matter how we were raised. YOU are a wonderful mom, I can read your love through your reply!

      Delete
  36. I used to go to church because I had a calling - had it for a very long. I loved it then I got burned out. Then I went for my children. Then I just stopped. I am one of those you describe, but have stopped going altogther. I know I have a testimony of the basic principles. I will always have a testimony. Ii just haven't been able to get myself there. because it hurts. It hurts because my husband doesn't go, and will never go.. I know, I know, things can change even 20 years from now. Like you say, It still hurts. And the judgement of it all. I love your idea of finding a self-pamper worship time. Maybe if I start with that, then eventually I'll start going again. Isn't the number one thing is to have a personal relationship with Heavenly Father? Maybe if I start there. Thank you so much for your post. Maybe I can't act on the suggestions (yet) but it is comforting to have someone (like yourself) put this out there for people to see.

    One thing though: I wish you your wonderful post picture, that you would have kept out "For the Lds woman" I would love to share this with non-member friends who struggle with this in their own church but would be turned off when they read that. The way you wrote this post really does read for anyone in any faith... just wish your title omitted that... but wonderful anyway. thank you. Now I have gotten at least one spiritual thought in my head and heart for the day.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Reading posts and putting on a "Mask" each Sunday, pretending we are ok and all gun-ho is what so many people in our church do. Why? Because of all the judgement and self-righteousness that goes on. Maybe that's where the problem is. I've been to other churches and they don't all do that. They are open with their struggles, and the congregation, or group of people will immediately stop their sermon or class lesson to pray for that person. There is no stigma attached.

    What if more people in our church were open about things, and we stopped and prayed for them, publicly. Would there be more comforting in our souls for everyone involed and less judgement.??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousMay 23, 2016

      I put on a mask each Sunday, not because I fear judgement, not because of gossip, and not because I think people don't care. I do it because I am a private person who raised a private family and I don't think my life is anybody else's business. As a returned missionary, faithful mother of six wonderful but very imperfect (as am I) children, YW leader, I have a strong and abiding love for the Savior and am extremely grateful to be a member of His church. I think it's fine if others share their problems, and try to listen and empathize. I just want to keep private things private. There is nothing wrong with that. I just wish others realized that not everyone wears their trials on their sleeve.

      Delete
  38. Please continue sharing your stories. I am reading every comment as they come in. Many tears have rolled down mt cheeks. I have wept with you. There haven't been any negative comments, but if there are they will be removed immediately. This is a safe space. Of the hundreds of thousands of people who have read and will read this post, I know that the stories shared here are only a fraction of the people who are hurting. Thank you for sharing your truth. You are not alone. Please continue sharing your stories and your love. Your story may change someone's life. It has changed mine, one comment at a time.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Thank you for this post, it was beautifully written. My pain is physical and regular pain medication often just doesn't cut it. I am unable to sit in the pews or on the chairs (even the padded RS chairs) for very long. I take knitting with me. It'll be a smallish, simple project that I can manage without looking at a pattern or disturbing anyone next to me. Out of respect for the actual passing of the sacrament, I put the project down. For some reason, having my hands busy keeps my mind focused on the speakers and off my pain.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Knitting helps distract me from physical pain too. I have never been brave enough to knit at church though. High five to you!

      Delete
    2. Knitting helps distract me from physical pain too. I have never been brave enough to knit at church though. High five to you!

      Delete
  40. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    I really needed this. To give some perspective, I was raised in the church. I am a 3rd generation member and all of my immediate and most of my extended family are active members. I struggled as a teen and was judged and alienated for years. People didn't seem to agree with how I was living my life and turned on me and gossiped about me for years. It was never acceptable to not attend church in my home. I was forced to go even when I was hurting so much and honestly scared to go and face all those who had turned on me. Once i moved out on my own I stopped attending church and never went back. Now,12 years later, I am 31 years old, not married, and pregnant with my first child. I have recently been thinking about returning to church. I am at a very difficult and trying time in my life, and returning to church has been on my mind. One of my biggest fears has been and still is, the people and the way they treat me due to my life choices, past and present. I have to say, I came across this post on Facebook this morning, and this is exactly what I needed to hear. The post, the comments. I have always felt so alone at church. Felt like I was the only one struggling and experiencing the things I have been. This post has been so amazing for me. For a couple years I have been toying with the idea of going back. I know I need to. For myself and now for my child that is on the way. I want the eternal family with my son. But I have allowed the imperfect people to keep me away for so long. Knowing that I am not alone in the struggle I feel in going to church was so imperative for me. We need to be more open about this, so those of us who feel alone, won't feel quite so alone. Thank you for your post. And thank you to all of you who have commented. There are not words to describe what reading all of this has done for me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

      Please know as someone who also struggled in their youth with feeling judged because of choices and spending 5 years out of the church, you are NOT alone. You will find that everyone you meet in or out of the church is struggling with trials, worthiness, choices, burdens, etc.. I love the church and I think you will find that others will accept and love you just as you are. I hope you will return. I remember after returning how much love I felt. It takes time and effort on your part as well, but with an open mind and heart... there is so much love and uplift for you there! It's all about you and the Savior anyway...so tune everything else out and go to worship Him!

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. I just have to respond to your comment here because it hit so close to home for me. I was raised in the church and was very active as a youth, went to BYU, etc. Then my parents divorced when I was 20 and my mom moved to Minnesota with my brothers. I followed a few months later, was filled with so much anger, and was dealing with a while host of other issues. I went inactive and remained inactive for the next 12 years. I married, had 2 children, then divorced. I became pregnant with my 3rd child as the result of a one-night stand. I cried for a month not knowing how I was going to raise this 3rd child when I was already struggling as a single parent. Long story short, I knew I had to come back to the church and to the gospel that I always knew in my heart was true. I had a friend that invited me to attend her small branch, and the rest is history. I remember sitting there and listening to the lessons being taught, and it was as though I was hearing gospel principles for the first time, even though I been raised in the church. It was the Spirit teaching me and opening my eyes to what it really means to be converted, and that the Atonement is real and that it applied to me and my children. I thought my life had reached the point that I was beyond saving, but I can testify to you, sweet sister, that the Savior IS real and that his Atonement applies to us ALL. My return to the church was sweet. The Savior is the most gentle of teachers. Work to base your testimony in the Savior, not necessarily the church, and all will be right. My youngest, that baby whose pregnancy caused me so much anguish and grief, is now 20 years old and serving a mission in Brazil. I wish I could say it is all rainbows and unicorns. It isn't (my oldest has left the church), but I do know the Savior loves all of us. I trust that "all things work for the good of them that love the Lord". May God bless you and your precious baby as you move forward. - See more at: http://www.theunconventionalreliefsociety.com/2014/12/when-going-to-church-hurts.html?showComment=1463974012984#c4944432495636303572

      Delete
    4. AnonymousMay 26, 2016

      I've been very moved by reading posts and comments here, but your post jumped out at me because it was so familiar - I was also raised in the church yet was unmarried and pregnant with my first child at 31. the details of our circumstances might differ, but I was very much in the same place 13+ years ago.

      please don’t give up — not on yourself, not on God, not on the rest of us weak and fallible and imperfect members of the church. some of us actually have stories very like your own; some of us still struggle, despite having made course corrections and receiving amazing blessings in our lives. some of us will be able to love you and mourn with you and rejoice with you because we’ve walked a similar path - and we’ve fallen down, and gotten back up again, and fallen down some more and gotten up some more and still stumble. and because of what you’re going through right now, you’ll be able to help someone else bear her burdens (or his — brothers, I’ve seen your comments, too, and my heart goes out to y’all as well) with a depth of love and compassion that comes from knowing pain and sorrow. and if that isn’t Christlike, I don’t know what is:


      3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

      4 ¶Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

      5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

      (Isaiah 53:3–5)

      despite my testimony of the gospel, I’m struggling with going to church right now — I was recently released after serving in Primary for a few years, and I’m having a really hard time with “grown-up” classes and cultural garbage that you just don’t get with Primary kids. don’t get me wrong, it was a much-needed blessing for me to be released from my Primary calling; but there are more Sundays than I can count when I feel so much anxiety about going to church that I end up giving myself a migraine and I’m in agony and completely miserable the rest of the day. I wish I didn’t feel so uncomfortable at church, and I hope and pray this feeling goes away sooner than later. I haven’t always felt like this (even in this ward), and I have faith that I won’t; but let’s not pretend it doesn’t suck while we’re in the middle of it.

      I’m actually really grateful for this article, for everyone’s posts and comments, and for your post in particular — it hit so close to home. we’re never really alone, are we? I hope you find solace in the Saviour and that He blesses you with someone who helps you feel His love at church. xx

      Delete
  41. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    I loved this. I wish it was being said in our own individual congregations. From the comments, it seems to me that we are far from alone in the struggle to attend church. My guess is that there are more of us who feel this way (each for our own personal reasons) than we realize. What if we all were brave enough to share our feelings and our struggles? Maybe it would be met with judgement and opposition, but maybe we would find far more compassion and acceptance than we anticipate. I watched it happen when my husband openly revealed his struggle to attend church because of an addiction. The outpouring of kind gestures was overwhelming to both him and me. There are still days when church is painful, but we handle those days better. And, both of us have had the opportunity to be a support to another person as they have opened up about their own pain. I am grateful for his example of vulnerability and bravery to be who he is, to worship in the way he needs to in order to heal. It is growing my desire to do the same.

    ReplyDelete
  42. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    I wish that as members we could go to church and be more real. That we could truly just be there to lift one anothers burdens and stop with the fluff n buff, the "best foot forward", and text book answers crap! I wish we could have real discussions, talk about the reality of suffering and challenges. Because the more I get to know a variety of people in my ward, the one thing we all have in common is a whole lot of trials, burdens, and challenges we are all trying to overcome. It would be so nice to be more real at church so that we could help each other. I would love to see more lessons on mental health, helping or coping with wayward children or family members, and discussing how to help our children, the rising generation, navigate all the information they are going to encounter on the internet about a variety of church topics. If the Savior were here...I would want to have good deep discussions about a variety of things. I have had lots of years with ups and downs with my attendance at church. I can say that I'm in a place now where I love the spiritual uplift I feel from partaking the sacrament. I try to find some good nugget of information from a talk or lesson and focus on the spirit and the spiritual jolt I get for the upcoming week. I find that I need that in my life to get me from week to week as a flawed human! But I still wish church were more real and not so superficial in many ways.

    I love these song lyrics from Bill Withers:

    Lean on me, when you're not strong
    And I'll be your friend
    I'll help you carry on
    For it won't be long
    'Til I'm gonna need
    Somebody to lean on

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousMay 24, 2016

      I totally agree. I am so sick of the same topics being recycled every quarter....Keep the Sabbath Day....Pay tithing, etc. Sometimes I want to scream....get real people...we need help....how can I keep from killing my kids before eternity...(just joking). I love the talks of the leaders during conference they often get as real as it gets in the Mormon church but those are only twice a year. I know we don't have learned scholars giving talks each week but our lives are real and we need to talk about those things.

      Delete
  43. Dear Sr. Maven, going through the refiner's fire is no fun...and as you have testified; we don't get to select our challenges. Living in this imperfect world among imperfect people... it is guaranteed we all will receive painful challenges in our lives -even those we perceive to see as having it easier than ourselves. I can only speak in respect to myself of how I overcame bitter and doubting experiences in my life. I literally had to stop'comparing my situation with others around me'..."For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known...1 Corinthians 13:12 KJV
    Speaking of my own challenges...what i marvel at is once i'm through the torment...I realize I am a stronger, yet gentler person. If the tender mercies of Christ have been bestowed upon me, whom I consider a very imperfect person, surely I should extend that same patience and kindness to one such as i...

    ReplyDelete
  44. This is exactly how I feel. I didn't marry until I was 32. The marriage ended in divorce 21 years later after many years of dealing with my husband's lying. One month later my 16 year old daughter died in a car accident. She was my youngest so that also made me an empty nester. Luckily, I have one other daughter who I moved closer to, a year after my daughter died. For the first year, I lived with her, my son-in-law and my grandson. When they asked them to speak in church, I wasn't asked as well. When the bishopric came to visit, I was never asked to join in. I never saw home teachers. The relief society did come to visit a couple of times and my visiting teachers came once. Last October, I moved into a new place by myself which meant a new ward. The first thing I attended after being in the ward was the ward Christmas party. One of the first comments made to me by a sister that I had known for about 10 years was "You sure had a couple of bad years." Not exactly what I needed! Shortly after that the bishop and first counselor of the elder's quorum came and helped me get some things moved around. I didn't attend my first meetings until January. Since then the rs has never visited, I haven't seen a visiting teacher or home teacher. I have never been told if there was a rs birthday party, what the schedule was the night of the sister's conference nor was I contacted by anyone in the ward for my birthday. I don't plan on ever returning to this ward. Luckily, I am able to sometimes attend my daughter's ward. I hope some day I can find a ward where I feel at home again.

    ReplyDelete
  45. About a year ago we started our journey with a special needs child after a stroke left her right side paralyzed and have spent hours at therapy and dr apts. this is all new to us but honestly Sunday's have been one of the hardest because you are reminded of how your family used to be, that things aren't normal anymore, and that even well meaning members either don't understand or don't care. Maybe I was one of them before this life changing event and for that I am sorry. I am just glad to know I am not alone in feeling this way every Sunday morning! It's overwhelming just to get 5 kids ready and there on time. Then you just want to hide from all the well meaning but emotionally exhausting comments and questions. Seeing other normal kids her age and having to help her in primary when leaders and teachers just can't understand, even well meaning! But the three reasons mentioned have given me hope that it will work out, that I need to be a better example to my kids of a more positive attitude on Sundays, and at least ficus on the sacrament portion!

    ReplyDelete
  46. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    People are people but the gospel is true...my first R.S. President drilled that into my head when she tucked me under her wing as a new convert 30 years ago. God bless her for that insight because it has helped me immensely to overcome the advisories attacks. Sometimes I get so tired of the same ol' frustrations at church and I might take a weekend off but will not allow myself more than 2 Sundays missed. We've been blessed to be in amazing wards alternating with wards that struggle more than they should. I've gone into these wards with the attitude that there's no one big enough or bad enough to make me walk away from the gospel that has been such a blessing in my life because my commitment is to my Heavenly Father - not to the people that for whatever reason don't "get it". We've been in our current ward on and off {we were told quickly after moving in and addressing a problem that we were not in our boundaries and had to go to a church further away - it was a fabulous ward for us till they changed stake boundaries a year or so later}for 16 years, I told a friend recently that for all we've been through here and all that we've served I feel like the latest is allowed to happen because Heavenly Father needs us to get the message loud and clear, "IT'S TIME TO MOVE TO A GOOD WARD!!" I'm grateful for the opportunity to serve, the lives that have touched ours and we theirs, the lessons learned, etc...but it is getting hard to continue when leadership turns a blind eye to the meanness of one particular sister who seems to do her best to hurt or offend anyone that gets within ear shot of her, she grabs sisters who don't want her touching them as they walk past her, the saddest part of this is she could have many friends if she'd just be a friend instead of trying to force people to listen to her whine about her sad her life is and serve her. I believe that if her husband were not part of the bishopric, SOMEONE might have addressed, guided her in stopping these attacks. I give it to the Lord and pray He will address it in some way, shape or form. Thanks for the article, I loved the part about finding a safe person, luckily I have a couple of those! Bless you for the eye opening blog!!

    ReplyDelete
  47. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    My mother had a wonderful laurel advisor who had a positive influence on her life. I had a laurel advisor who treated me like an outcast and project. But I was able to find strength in some advice my mother's YW leader gave. She said, "Your testimony is going to go through peaks and valleys. When your testimony is low, keep doing the right things, going to church, reading your scriptures, prayer and fasting, and it will come back." In much the same way, when if feels painful to be at church, keep going and trust that it will someday change. We know that through the atonement, every pain will be taken from us, every wrong made right. Keep doing the things that are right, and trust in the Lord's timing to heal. For years I was in a ward where I felt utterly alone. I prayed almost weekly to find a place to move do I wouldn't have to face one more Sunday. A year later, I finally find a place, which led me to be in a position to meet a sweet young woman and help her in her struggle against suicide. Seeing my friend now, married, working towards the temple, happier than she had ever been, alive and well, I can fully appreciate how perfect the Lord's timing was. I can see how that miserable year strengthened my testimony, gave me experience I needed to comfort my friend when coming to church was so painful to her, and even put me at the right place at the right time to meet her. And I wouldn't trade it for anything.

    ReplyDelete
  48. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    It is really hard to put on a mask and pretend everything is ok every week. It is hard to go and feel judged and left out all of the time. A church leader spread information about my family that was confidential and private. Prior to that, there were some problems, but after that happened, my four children stopped being invited over to play, parties, etc. Then, one Sunday they were talking about fellowshipping and sitting next to sisters that were alone. They listed off all of the women who happened to be sitting alone that day, me included. That sure made me feel welcome. And loved. All they do is make me feel like a project. And now all I want to do is quietly go to church, learn and come home.

    ReplyDelete
  49. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    I too struggle most Sundays. I have 6 children, all grown and gone, and only 1 that believes in the church. We weren't married in the Temple but went to church almost every Sunday. We were never without a church calling. We prayed. (probably not as often as we should have). We did most things we are told to do in the church to raise our children right. I prayed every day for my children to stray from wrong and for God to be with them and keep them strong. And yet they still chose the wrong When I sit in church, and listen to talks and lessons, I feel like a huge failure as a mom. I feel like I have no hope for an eternal family. I know it's where I should be, but I feel like everything is hopeless. It's so hard.

    ReplyDelete
  50. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    Thank you for this post. It's a gentle reminder of the real reason to attend church.
    My daughter was diagnosed with Schizophrenia at 14 and due to 15 hospitalizations in under a year we didn't always attend. The priesthood int the area where she was hospitalized were absolutely terrific and she never missed a sacrament. However the young women's leaders came down on me really hard and all the harsh comments made to my face about how I was not a good nor a responsible mother, and how they would handle 'wayward teens' (she was not wayward, she was very ill and I didn't tell anyone what we were going through for her privacy) topped off with not allowing her to attend YW camp with me one on one because her change in behavior "upset" the other young women all left me not wanting to return at all.
    I prayed and prayed for someone to share with as a mother, thinking there would not be an answer within our ward, when one of the ladies who came down harshest on me called in tears one day telling me about how she wished her mother had made her go to church when she had issues. That call gave me the opportunity to open up and share that what she thought was going on was no where near what we were dealing with and turned her into our biggest advocate.
    I have since had to deal with new mothers misunderstandings (at times my daughter would need a quiet and dark place to re-evaluate reality, so I would take her into the mother's room when it was empty and let her cry on my shoulder or curl up in my lap, which I admit is odd to see with a 14 (now 17)year old, but the scoldings we got from mothers who did not understand stopped us from attending once more.
    We are working our way back into full attendance, but there are still painful days and you helped us to remember the real reasons for attending.

    ReplyDelete
  51. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    i am reading all these posts and realize for the first time in my 42 years as a convert that I'm not alone. This has helped me so much. I served in leadership positions for most of those 42 years and raised 5 children in the gospel. I was the quintessential "Molly Mormon". Over time each child has chosen not to go to church. Two are alcoholics, one is gay, one had early pregnancy and had the child adopted so feels out of place and the other has chosen to follow his Father's example. My heart has been broken by these choices to the point that I just can't face another day of listening to what I couldn't do. I finally broke down and for the first time refused a leadership calling. I am unable to give anymore from an empty cup. For each of you here I wish I could hug you and say it'll be ok but I know what it feels like to not be ok. And yet, I go to church because somewhere deep inside I know who I am and what only I can do. I never had cancer, or experienced the death of a child, or was abused in any way, or have known poverty. As a Mormon Mom all I want is for my children to be happy. I know Temple Marriage and covenants create more happiness with them than without and I'm grateful for all I do have.

    ReplyDelete
  52. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    when I was about 15 my parents divorced and my mother left the church because of how awful my ward was to her. I would even hear some of the women who were once her friends say horrible things about her. Still I never understood why she left until I reached adulthood. I am single and will most likely never marry, but I am okay with that. I have asked to leave 3 wards because I'm either too old or too single to be there. I love this gospel so much. I just feel that it doesn't love me back. I'm in a family ward now and they may want to kick me out but they cant. Its awful to go to church and sit by some one to have them tell me to move or to get up and leave. Its sickening to have sit all by yourself and have NO ONE acknowledge your existence when you are in a such a social church. Ive been in my ward for 6 months and no one has spoken to me, not even the bishop. I get panic attacks before church. I end up leaving after sacrament in tears. Church has been killing me for years. I don't belong there, but I cant stop going because it love taking the sacrament. I love the talks and the scriptures. Ive just decided to ward hop. When I go to a new ward each week I am actually greeted by the members, the members who have no time to learn that I am a single older woman. I don't have a calling and I'm not endowed so I don't feel like this is a problem. I wish I could find a safe person. I wish I could find a friend in the church. Thanks for the tips though. I'm so sad and happy at the same time that I am not alone in my struggle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousMay 22, 2016

      Its pretty sad to think to myself that if I didn't belong to this church I might actually have some self worth. But when you go to a place that is supposed to be supportive and they aren't, it hurts. This is a terrible analogy but I often feel like a black person going to a klan meeting when I go to church. I feel hated, I feel like at any minute someone is going to come and run me out.

      Delete
    2. That must be very difficult to find yourself feeling all of those feelings. I can't imagine why people don't reach out. I am not trying to say I am some awesome woman at all but I genuinely would love to get to know you. I am young and married and have a toddler and honestly I prefer to make friends with women who either have no children or their children are raised. Other young mom's intimidate me. All I can really say is I hope that things can improve for you. I honestly would love to get to know you. If I had the chance I would.

      Delete
    3. AnonymousMay 28, 2016

      I would love that too!

      Delete
    4. Told you to move?? I'm appalled. It's not a sin to be single, for goodness sake! What, are they afraid it's going to rub off on them? I wish you were in our ward. We have some wonderful single ladies. Maybe in your ward hopping, you will find a "home" and then move to that ward. Are on the Salt Lake valley?

      Delete
  53. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    I mostly enjoy going to church. On the weeks when I can't (illness, generally), I tell myself that I'll study the scriptures, the lessons, or read conference talks while I'm at home, so I still get a spiritual lift. And then I don't do it.

    If it ever becomes painful to go to church, at least I'll already know that I personally can't use the rationale "I can seek out and feel the Spirit just as well at home."

    I'm sure whatever is causing the pain will also provide a litany of better reasons.

    ReplyDelete
  54. AnonymousMay 21, 2016

    I felt like I lost my testimony of the church over 20 years ago, and it's been a struggle to go ever since. I also have felt like a failure as a mother, as none of my children are active in the church, none went on missions, and none were married in the temple. I still go sometimes, but for years I would go and then come home and cry the rest of the day. When I pray about it, I feel the spirit is telling me that the ward members are "my family" and that's why I should go, but its still hard.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I am not a member, but saw this in a friend's page and I have to say this is the most beautiful, Christian message I have come across recently. I don't think there is any church out there that doesn't have members in this place and I wish more of them could read this. Thank you for sharing the true word of Christ, that we are all broken and yet we are loved perfectly, even when we don't feel we deserve it.

    ReplyDelete
  56. Thank you for sharing this message! I struggle with this and your words are comforting and hopeful.

    ReplyDelete
  57. There was a long season where I struggled with self imposed feelings of self worth and hopelessness. Going to church was difficult- but going anywhere in public hurt. Every Sunday before church though I would get a Priesthood blessing, just for enough strength and courage to get ready and get out the door. Things have shifted and I am so very grateful I endured with help from an all knowing, understanding,and ever loving Father in Heaven . Great lessons and deeper love for our Father in Heaven and Savior came during that time of struggle and endurance.

    ReplyDelete
  58. AnonymousMay 22, 2016

    I too have these same struggles. I work retail and lately on the Sundays I have to work I'd rather go to church and on the Sundays that I'm off early enough to go to church or have the day off, I struggle with going. There have been times when I procrastinate and only go to RS where I sit alone because my really good friend is in the primary presidency. I get frustrated because the only calling I have EVER had has been in the primary. I never get to know the other ladies in my ward (work schedule again) and my children always act up more when I have a calling in primary. My youngest son would say horrible, inappropriate things (usually lies) during sharing time and I could do nothing to stop him because I was one of the sunbeam teachers and couldn't grab him and take him out. So, the people in my ward who were serving in primary probably thought our family was a bunch of blasphemers and freaks. While I don't care what other people think of me or my family - I also don't want them to come to the wrong conclusion of me or my family. As a result, I asked to be released so that my son could go to primary and behave.
    That being said . . . our was , until quite recently, was extremely small. Maybe 20 children in primary, maybe 3- young men and women and about 5 in our nursery. TINY!!! Every adult had at least 2 callings, some as many as 3-4. Except me . . . . I don't have a calling, I don't contribute to my ward in any way, shape or form and I think that's where I have gotten to the conclusion that no one would care if I wasn't there. Even my husband has 2 callings.
    Recently, they took a larger ward in our stake and dissolved it, adding the biggest chunk to our tiny ward. Our bishopric has been reorganized a little bit and our RS presidency has also been reorganized. We were told that all auxiliary presidencies will be reorganized to incorporate some of the new members of our ward. Which means that I won't get a calling for quite awhile. I have a 16 year old daughter who is struggling and I feel that I really need to be in young women to help her and guide her because she cannot talk to or relate to the YW president. She also refuses to go to church.
    Today is such a day . . . I'm not working today and I am seriously contemplating not going to church at all or just going to RS (and maybe Sunday school).
    Don't get me wrong, I know that partaking the sacrament is the most important reason to go to church - but in feeling the way I do, I feel like I'm unworthy to take the sacrament (not really unworthy in the traditional sense of the word - there is just no other word that best describes what I feel).

    ReplyDelete
  59. AnonymousMay 22, 2016

    I married a man in the church. I love the family message. I was raised in a cult. It has been an adjustment. I like my kids being raised in the church but find myself keeping a distance from everyone. I feel I will be judged for my former life if people knew. I know I'm need to talk to someone about the things that happened when I was younger. I know I made one huge mistake in my life when I was younger. I just can't seem to cope with what I did. I feed like I will never be forgiven. I feel like if I do talk they might kick me out. I didn't realize what I did was so bad until I had my first child. Then I truly understood. My first child was born with many problems. Sometimes I wondered if it's what I deserve. Later I realized it's what I needed. Their broke body healed my broken heart. I was unable to truly love until that baby needed me so much. I feel like when I go to church I am pretending. I am pretending my former life didn't happen. I am pretending to be just another happy mormon mom with a bunch of kids. I feel like a fraud.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've all made mistakes. People don't need to know that you've been in a cult, that's not important or their business. I don't know your story and I'm not pretending to but it sounds like you should pay for the strength to forgive yourself for things in the past. I'm assuming that you're a convert and if you are, your sins were washed clean when you were baptized. If you're not a convert and you feel away for a time, you do need to talk to your bishop and get those things taken care of. I was terrified that my bishop would think less of me for the things I head done (I worked with him) or, worse, that he would think of what I'd done. That was not the case. First of all, he was really proud of me because it was such a hard thing to do. Secondly, once I had finished my repentance process, my bishop couldn't remember anything about what I had done. He told me that when he was released, he couldn't remember anything private. He was more relieved than I was.
      Good luck and I'll be praying for you.

      Delete
    2. We've all made mistakes. People don't need to know that you've been in a cult, that's not important or their business. I don't know your story and I'm not pretending to but it sounds like you should pay for the strength to forgive yourself for things in the past. I'm assuming that you're a convert and if you are, your sins were washed clean when you were baptized. If you're not a convert and you feel away for a time, you do need to talk to your bishop and get those things taken care of. I was terrified that my bishop would think less of me for the things I head done (I worked with him) or, worse, that he would think of what I'd done. That was not the case. First of all, he was really proud of me because it was such a hard thing to do. Secondly, once I had finished my repentance process, my bishop couldn't remember anything about what I had done. He told me that when he was released, he couldn't remember anything private. He was more relieved than I was.
      Good luck and I'll be praying for you.

      Delete
  60. I have my iPod set on my Sacrament hymns playlist and have my earbuds hanging around my neck. I bring a small knitting project. I always arrive 10-15 min before the meeting starts. I sit with both earbuds in and knit before the meeting starts. I take them out for the Sacrament and put my knitting down. As soon as the Sacrament is over I pick up my knitting and stick an earbud in. Sometimes the talks are "two earbud talks." Most of Fast and Testimony meeting is "two earbuds." I try hard focus on my own beam and not start picking at other's motes. They don't know they are hurting me. And if they do, sometimes they don't care because they are THAT self-righteous. Christ went through the Atonement for them, too. I can't fix them, I can only fix me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I was in your ward, then you could teach me how to knit!

      Delete
  61. AnonymousMay 22, 2016

    This must have been a repost. Regardless, it's a great reminder that we all have something that makes it hard to go to church either constantly or every once in awhile. I remember my dad coming home from Priesthood back when I was a kid. My mom collapsed to the kitchen floor in tears because she was alone trying to get six kids ready to go to Sunday School. I will never forget the look in my Dad's eyes when he picked her up and turned to us and quietly commanded that we go get ready. I'm pretty sure my mom, who had everything I always wanted, did not want to go to church that day. I am 64 years old and never married, I went on a mission, did everything right,went to singles wards for years until I was kicked of the last one when I was I my 30's, filled every calling, etc. no question. It's hard to go to church. Some of the wards I've been in were anything but welcoming. One of my bishops told me as I was shaking his hand for the first time that he would be happy to give me permission to go to a singles ward. Since I had just found my way back to going after having been literally dismissed from my singles ward where I held three callings, that was not an option. It took four years for that ward to offer me a calling. Another ward put me in as the organist for eight years. Nothing is more isolating than playing for people who are not listening and then sitting behind the organ because you don't have anyone to sit next to anyway. So I know what it means to not want to go. However the key is to not lose hope. The best advice I can give is to obtain a testimony, never let that go, and develop hope and then faith in the gospel. I'm not happy about not getting the chance to have an eternal companion or children to love and be loved by, but I cannot deny what I know to be true. So I go to church, and I pray for faith, and I push the unintentionally offensive or hurtful comments made by others out before they have a chance to fester like an infection. I promise it's better than the alternative. Not easier. Better.

    ReplyDelete
  62. The problem with our church is people actually think they and the church are supposed to be perfect in THIS life. I'm reminded of my favorite rejoinder for church: Don't let the perfect get in the way of the good." Personally I'm just trying to be good. I'll worry about perfect later.

    ReplyDelete
  63. I am a convert of 44 years and know without a doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ and the church are true. I have had to work with chronic depression throughout my life. I married my husband the second year of medical school and he has been a practicing pediatric neurosurgeon for 30 years. Essentially I was a single parent raising our children. I can tell you that these feelings are cyclic throughout one's life dependent upon the situation at hand. When the children were small so many times I would ask myself "why am I attending church? I am not getting a thing out of it." But I wanted to set an example for these lovely little people I was blessed with with the hope it would become a desire in their hearts and continue in their adult lives. It was hard. I also needed to take the sacrament to remember why I had joined the church. This cycle passed and when the children left for college this same feeling came around again. This is when I decided to look around me to see if I noticed any women sitting alone. I would take it upon myself to meet them and introduce them to other women in the ward. This gave me a sense of wellbeing as I was doing something I felt others didn't see that I needed. You see, my husband was almost always at work on Sundays. I still do this today in order to give women a sense of acceptance and see that someone cares enough to make themselves known to them. I will stay with them for several weeks until they seem to have friends they have clicked with. Then I go find another unsuspecting woman. This helps me avoid the recurrence of "the cycle."

    ReplyDelete
  64. I am a convert of 44 years and know without a doubt that the gospel of Jesus Christ and the church are true. I have had to work with chronic depression throughout my life. I married my husband the second year of medical school and he has been a practicing pediatric neurosurgeon for 30 years. Essentially I was a single parent raising our children. I can tell you that these feelings are cyclic throughout one's life dependent upon the situation at hand. When the children were small so many times I would ask myself "why am I attending church? I am not getting a thing out of it." But I wanted to set an example for these lovely little people I was blessed with with the hope it would become a desire in their hearts and continue in their adult lives. It was hard. I also needed to take the sacrament to remember why I had joined the church. This cycle passed and when the children left for college this same feeling came around again. This is when I decided to look around me to see if I noticed any women sitting alone. I would take it upon myself to meet them and introduce them to other women in the ward. This gave me a sense of wellbeing as I was doing something I felt others didn't see that I needed. You see, my husband was almost always at work on Sundays. I still do this today in order to give women a sense of acceptance and see that someone cares enough to make themselves known to them. I will stay with them for several weeks until they seem to have friends they have clicked with. Then I go find another unsuspecting woman. This helps me avoid the recurrence of "the cycle."

    ReplyDelete
  65. Thank you for the thoughtful article acknowledging a common situation for many in the church. I too went through a three year struggle to attend church and even now have small bouts of this feeling that hits me out of nowhere wen I am at church. Like others I am thankful for my calling in the Primary presidency. In this calling there are some weeks when I have the Sunday School hour free and struggle to attend classes. I have found sanctuary in the family history center. A place where I can find peace from the Lord and value I doing His work.

    ReplyDelete
  66. AnonymousMay 22, 2016

    single: That needs addressing. Single sisters hurt.

    ReplyDelete
  67. I currently dislike going to church. I've been the object of gossip, betrayed by people I thought I could trust, and I don't fit in. I go for two reasons. 1. My children and 2. I have a strong testimony. Having grown up surviving corrupt bishops and stake presidents, I know my testimony is not based on those around me or i would have left long ago.
    Having friends at church and feeling you belong there is an amazing feeling I've only felt a few times. Feeling alone at church wears me down and makes me avoid activities where I could otherwise enjoy myself. I've gone from extrovert to introvert. I hate it.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Thank you for this post!
    I have had plenty of painful Sundays. I've grown up with two disabled brothers who occasionally act up, and I feel embarrassed. I'm a single woman over age 21 who hasn't served a mission (because Heavenly Father told me a firm "no"), and I've gotten flack for it. I have severe depression which has made going to church sometimes downright drudgery.

    But.

    I have also found more love, acceptance, and joy in the Church than anywhere else in my life. I was fortunate to grow up in a small, tight-knit ward full of loving, non-judgmental people. They accept me for who I am, as well as my brothers. Some of my closest friends are in that ward or were in it at one time. And in some wards where I have run into judgment, I have ALWAYS been able to find people who love and accept me for who I am, even when I'm struggling. I also try my best to remember that no matter what, Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love me. They love me personally. No judgmental act by imperfect members will ever change that.

    Something I do when I'm having a particularly painful day is to take a break while I'm at church. Similar to the idea mentioned in this post, I find a quiet place to myself to read scriptures, pray, and ponder in peace. I usually do it during Sunday School or Relief Society. I feel like Heavenly Father wants us to get what we need out of church, whether that be attending every meeting or taking a nap on a couch in the lobby. The important thing about going to church on Sunday is taking the sacrament. Everything else is great, but an extra bonus, not an obligation.

    ReplyDelete
  69. It's OK to feel what you feel!!!

    ReplyDelete
  70. AnonymousMay 23, 2016

    There are so many scriptures that promise the faithful that we will be blessed with ALL that the Father hath. Our Savior suffered for not only our sins, but He also suffered for all our sorrows and pain - all the pain that everyone here is sharing: how incomprehensible is this? But He did it!!! He did it for each and every one of us. The Atonement is a promise that everything will be made right - truth, justice, and mercy will reign. Here are a few really special things that I only learned a couple years ago that have brought me GREAT comfort. I have my own set of challenges and struggles.

    (1) We will see things as they really are once Christ comes again and the earth receives its paradisiacal glory at the beginning of the Millennium. Seeing things as they really are means we will understand everything!!!! We'll understand all the reasons for everything; this all-encompassing understanding will remove much of the pain because we will see what the lessons were, and how we grew from them, and why it was all necessary. Nothing we experience and suffer here on earth will be wasted or for no reason. The rewards for remaining faithful are so awesome - even if we have to wait until this earthly life is over before we receive them.

    (2) There is a scripture that says we will remember this life no more once the earth receives its Celestial glory - when there is a new heaven and a new earth.

    Isaiah 65:17
    17 ¶For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.

    Romans 8:17-18
    17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.
    18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

    (3) We will not be alone in eternity (one of my own fears). As was said in last October General Conference, families go forwards AND backwards. Gaps will be filled in. There won't be any empty places. With no memory of this world, there will be no more sorrow. Another thing to keep in mind that is comforting is that angels are rushing to help us when we pray for help. This has been emphasized during the last two general conferences. General conference has become for me like a series of meetings with the Savior.

    JulieByTheSea

    ReplyDelete
  71. AnonymousMay 23, 2016

    I have struugled with this for the past 15 months. I was married to the love of my life, I thought for 15 years. We have 2 beautiful children together and were sealed in the temple. I had my "eternal family" one day he took off his garments and told me he didn't believe in the church anymore. I was devastated. I cried and cried. I begged I pleaded for him to pray about it and come back. Then a few weeks later I found out he cheated on me and wanted to start a life with this woman! I again was devestated! I thought the worst of it was him losing his testimony. We split up and I tried going to church. I had a "safe friend" I thought but she sat by a different lady in class and all they did was act like high school girls and giggle the whole meeting through. I was already struggling being there without my husband and everyone asking me where he was (those questions are the worse!) then I felt abandoned by my safe friend. I left class and just bawled and bawled in the foyer. I thought what am I really getting out of class? What am I really getting out of being here? I tried to go for my kids, vut I was miserable. It was so hard to see all these happy couples that still had their "forever families". It was hard to go and see all the cliques and not feel like I fit in with the other ladies. The bishop saw me crying and came up and talked to me during class. I told him what was going on and he said he would pray for me to see how to help me. I stayed out in the foyer until church was out to wait for my kids and haven't been back since. That was 15 months ago. I have not had one person in the ward check up on me. Not the RS president, bishopric, no one! I have felt abandoned from my husband, and abandoned from my ward! My RS president lives right across the street from me and she knows my husband left me, our boys are best friends and she does nothing. Then a few weeks ago I went to a funeral of a friends father who lives in my stake and I ran into the stake president who I happen to know because he is related to my niece. He says he hasn't seen me around in awhile and I tell him my story and how uncomfortable I have been so I haven't been ready to go to church. He invites me to come to his ward and sit with his wife anytime I want. I thank him and go my separate ways. Then next thing I know during the week. I get calls from the Bishopric wanting to come visit me sometime. Then I get a call from my home teacher wanting to come see me (I haven't had home teachers in 7 years!) Then I get a call from my "new visiting teachers"(haven't had those in 5 years). So I can put 2 and 2 together and figure out why they suddenly have an interest in me. I feel weird about it all because shouldn't they have been doing this all along? They have all known the struggle I have gone through. I have been very disappointed in them all. It is hard getting over the betray al I have felt by the ward and my husband. I know I probably shouldn't let it get to me as much as it has, but going to church does hurt after yiu feel like you have failed in your marriage and how come other couples can make it and you can't. How did they get so lucky when your dreams shattered? What did everyone else do so right to be so happy? Why can't I have my happily ever after? How can I go to church and hear about eternal marriages and celestial kingdoms and having our own worlds some day when I know I will never have that now? I have no one to sit by, no friends in the ward. I feel alone. I feel guilty because I am robbing my children of the gospel. But I feel like a hypocrite if I do go back because of some life choices I have now made. I feel stuck!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so so sorry this has happened to you! How hurtful. I know the Savior can heal all wounds, in time. Try reaching out to your ward members, it sounds like they are trying to repent and make up for the time they abandoned you. You can find healing through Christ and going back to Church will help, I know from experience. Be brave, you are a daughter of Heavenly Father and no matter what has happened He loves you and wants you to grow and find peace though His Son and the gospel. Stay strong my sister.

      Delete
    2. "We have 2 beautiful children together and were sealed in the temple. I had my "eternal family""
      "going to church does hurt after yiu feel like you have failed in your marriage and how come other couples can make it and you can't. How did they get so lucky when your dreams shattered? "
      Two years ago you were one of the "lucky" ones from outside appearance. Now you know that that's all it is, an appearance. Only God knows how close or far away all those couples are from a real eternal family.
      Repent of whatever you need to. Forgive yourself, forgive others - anything else is misery and makes nothing better. There's a reason we keep having lessons about loving one another: we haven't gotten it down yet and we will continue to disappoint each other until we do. What happened to you wasn't your fault, it's a terrible thing. But what you choose to do from here on out is up to you. I think you will make a wonderful, loyal, compassionate "safe person" for someone else. (And probably an awesome leader, if it comes to that--you can show them how it's supposed to be done :) )

      Delete
  72. I've been there. I've avoided, I've skipped, I've left early, I've made excuses. Luckily I got through it. Mostly because I forced myself to go and when I was there and struggling I'd take out my notebook and pen and while others would've assumed I was taking notes (looking up from time to time at the speaker/teacher) I was really doing something else, like writing my feelings, poetry, or in a few cases a to-do list for the week. I always took a conference issue to read & annotate during the quiet sacrament time, so if nothing else, that helped me focus on my purpose for being there.

    ReplyDelete
  73. I've been there. I've avoided, I've skipped, I've left early, I've made excuses. Luckily I got through it. Mostly because I forced myself to go and when I was there and struggling I'd take out my notebook and pen and while others would've assumed I was taking notes (looking up from time to time at the speaker/teacher) I was really doing something else, like writing my feelings, poetry, or in a few cases a to-do list for the week. I always took a conference issue to read & annotate during the quiet sacrament time, so if nothing else, that helped me focus on my purpose for being there.

    ReplyDelete
  74. I usually go to sacrament but never feel like I'm good enough. I don't pray enough. I don't read my scriptures enough. I don't go to all my meetings. Sometimes I leave after sacrament. I don't feel like I fit in because there are so many young couples in our ward that I don't have anything in common with. It's just easier to go home.

    ReplyDelete
  75. AnonymousMay 23, 2016

    I feel like such a failure as a mom and a person. When I sit in church and listen to the talks I feel that there is no hope. All but 1 of my 6 children have fallen away from the church. My husband and I did not marry in the temple, but raised our children completely in the church. We are now readying ourselves to go, but how do I leave all my children behind? I feel an eternal family is hopeless for me. My heart hurts.

    ReplyDelete
  76. I joined the church 18 years ago as a single, divorced, mother to two adult children, only-member-in-my-entire family, self-confident business owner, woman. I carried a temple recommend for 17 of those years and attended the temple regularly. Four years ago, I moved into a new ward with no expectation of anything being any different from my past experience...now, I find myself identifying with many of the comments here. Like people, wards are different...probably because they are made up of people...and people are imperfect. I love the gospel, read my scriptures, watch General Conferences, and pray continuously. I have, however, stopped taking the sacrament in my new ward because of blatant comments by (surprise) my own fellow sister members that are too insensitive to ignore...or tolerate. My callings have always been as a teacher and I am proud that I have received and never turned down a calling to do just that throughout my membership; however, I requested release and am no longer teaching in the church. I have been volunteering to work with "Children In Crisis" where I help youth struggle against suicide. I feel Heavenly Father's love and approval of this new path...in fact, I recognize this as His answer to my fasting and heartfelt prayer over many months of great struggle. I take the sacrament at different wards, often requiring lengthy travel time...which I use to listen to hymns and pray in solitude. My prayers often include "continued revelation" both for myself and the church from Heavenly Father, especially concerning our love for Him, each other, and all "children of God". This is a wonderful forum where speaking "our own truth" and experience is smothered in no way. I appreciate the openness expressed and the tender encouragement voiced by those who recognize themselves in others' comments. By working together, without judgement, and sharing our love for the church; Heavenly Father and His son, Jesus Christ; the gospel; and certainly...EACH OTHER...we are a MIGHTY FORCE to be reckoned with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean about comments from other Church members however the Sacrament is between you and Heavenly Father. It is there to uplift YOU and He knows what is in your heart and mind. Other people, no matter how judgemental or intolerant they are, do not have the Right to prevent you from renewing your covenants each week! The whole purpose of the Sacrament is to have the help of Heavenly Father each and every day in our lives so I would encourage you to partake of the Sacrament every week and hold onto that close personal relationship with your Heavenly Father. As the words of the song say "Things Can Only Get Better"

      Delete
  77. Wow, I quit going because although I'm married, it's not to a member. My only child (from a previous, abusive marriage) died. I am resentful because I cannot be sealed to my son and don't think it's fair that a mother cannot be sealed to the child she carried, birthed, raised, and buried.

    ReplyDelete
  78. I lost my Sweetheart/Soulmate last year and I am totally lost at Church without him. I hear him singing alongside me every week and it just hurts so badly. I have questioned why I go to Church and a couple of times I stayed away because the morning started off emotional before I even stepped out the door. I know it will get easier with time but the other Widows in the Ward are a lot older than me and I feel totally alone. Even Relief Society drives me crazy because so many of the lessons include things like being positive, and the plan of salvation. I know the lessons are not on those actual subjects but somehow something will be said each and every week that touches a nerve with me and starts me feeling emotional all over again. I suppose the reason I continue to go to Church is because I am sealed to my Hubby for eternity and I long for that = even though it seem to be an eternity away. I can't see the end of this dark tunnel and how I can continue to live without him in my life and by my side and I'm so lonely. Still, the Church is true! I have gone through the anger of losing my husband and even blamed Heavenly Father for not allowing us to be together for longer but I'm out the other side of that now and with time I will get used to this situation. Thank you for the article. I really enjoyed it and it's good to know that other people feel like I do about attending Church each week.

    ReplyDelete
  79. AnonymousMay 23, 2016

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this post. Very well expressed! I have been in most of these positions and find, that most of the time, the sisters around us would LOVE to be there for us, but we, in our pain or suffering, are afraid to allow them in. Is this a form of pride? I know there are those that ARE judgemental, but I also know that there are MANY more that would love to be a support if they were aware of our need. Right now I'm struggling with some minor stuff, but I have, in the past, dealt with some very painful stuff, NOT wanting to go to church or have to talk to anyone but wanting to feel the spirit. I always wished I could be a fly on the wall and have the best of both worlds. I give my love to all of you and pray that you can find peace and not hurt when you go to church.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Stay oblivious, my friends. Don't listen for rustlings of gossip, pettiness, or insensitivity. After all - we are all flawed individuals. That's a known common denominator for everyone that is there. CHOOSE to be oblivious. None of us should be there for anyone else's approval except the Divine One that really counts. Participating in the sacred ordinance of the sacrament to renew our covenants with the Savior and our Father in Heaven will strengthen our relationship with them and that is what really matters.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousJune 11, 2016

      Stay happily oblivious--that is how I was able to finally make a solid decision to come back. I didn't look left, I didn't look right, I looked straight ahead to my Savior. His Atonement is alive and well. The only true peace I have ever found on this earth has come through Jesus Christ, and I've done some unfortunate research elsewhere, I assure you. I would be amiss if I did not thank my Heavenly Father for allowing me to pass through DARK and HEAVY trials, without which I would not have a testimony that belongs to ME. Seek the positive, forgive the negative. Stay happily oblivious. Good advice!

      Delete
  81. I hurt less when I speak. When I answer questions with my truths. I asked God why, a long time ago. Why this, why me? The answer that stuck was this, is it worth it if it if through your suffering someone else, most likely someone you love, will suffer less? Would you choose this burden, this suffering, this sorrow, this hurt if it means that through your knowledge gained someone else will never feel that hurt? My answer is always a swift, yes. So when I go to church and someone says something or does something or I feel something, I speak up. I say my truth. I asked the hard questions and respond in ways people may disapprove of. And then I hope. I hope that something I said or did impacts just one person. Lifts just one person's suffering just a little. Then the hurt isn't quite so important.

    ReplyDelete
  82. I hurt less when I speak. When I answer questions with my truths. I asked God why, a long time ago. Why this, why me? The answer that stuck was this, is it worth it if it if through your suffering someone else, most likely someone you love, will suffer less? Would you choose this burden, this suffering, this sorrow, this hurt if it means that through your knowledge gained someone else will never feel that hurt? My answer is always a swift, yes. So when I go to church and someone says something or does something or I feel something, I speak up. I say my truth. I asked the hard questions and respond in ways people may disapprove of. And then I hope. I hope that something I said or did impacts just one person. Lifts just one person's suffering just a little. Then the hurt isn't quite so important.

    ReplyDelete
  83. AnonymousMay 24, 2016

    Beautiful post! I know this feeling all too well. I would HIGHLY recommend journaling when it gets too hard. I took my journal with me every week and when it became too much to handle I would write and seek the Lord's guidance, and the answers are reflected in my journal. I also found that others in my circumstance became a great support for me! There were several of us who would need to step out during certain lessons and we all sat together and cried in the hallway. We were united in our pain, and strengthened by the love for each other. Be strong! The Lord loves you all and understands.

    ReplyDelete
  84. I've gone through periods where it hurt, most recently this last year, when my testimony was damaged and underwent extensive review (and repair). It helped that I often had to take my youngest out to the car during the second & third hours for a nap or later for rambling the halls. ;) But as I struggled so much to find a firm place to start from with my testimony, I knew I really had to humble myself. Trying to humble myself helped me realize that part of why the Lord wants us to worship together, a jumble of different people stuck together by faith and simple geography, is to be there to serve each other. When I was at church, and struggling, I could say a prayer and ask him to show me who I could help, if there was anyone I could serve, and to help me recognize the need. Usually it amounted to smiling at someone, listening to them, offering words of encouragement or appreciation or a sincere compliment...and sometimes it got to be telling them how much I appreciated them sharing how hard church has been for them, too. I also appreciated an earlier comment here--someone mentioned imagining the Savior coming to sit with them. I sometimes imagine the Savior present, presiding over the Sacrament, or sitting with me or someone else I know is in pain. Anyway, we shouldn't wait until we feel happy and good to serve. If we do, we will all sit and wait in our pain without someone to lift us up. "We are his hands." His physical hands were wounded, too, but they still lift us with their unending strength. When we reach out to try to heal others, the power of Christ can work in us and them to help heal us all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is so beautiful stated! I love the imagery of Christ helping even though he was wounded also. Everyone is suffering in some way and we need each other's strength and service.

      Delete
  85. AnonymousMay 24, 2016

    I wish I could get back to a place where I felt church was a 'safe' place. I've struggled with all the scenarios in the OP, and more but still went, still served. I broke when my health failed to the point I was told by doctors I could not serve in Primary after a bout of pneumonia on the heels of 2 different cases of bronchitis. I was released, but we moved back to our old ward where the Bishopric tried to install us in the same callings' we'd had as if we'd never left. Despite telling my Bishopric I was medically advised not to serve with young children they persisted and I flat out refused. Then a second calling came for Activity Days, which I was cleared to accept...only to have my Bishopric casually mention "Oh you have to also be a primary substitute or we have to withdraw the calling". I've never in 39 years turned down one calling, let alone two, but I did. My health continued failing, making it impossible to attend church regularly at all. The last time I attended, I was escorted into my Bishop's office, had the door shut leaving us alone and was made to defend my 'inactivity' and pressured to describe my medical conditions in dept to a man I hardly knew. It culminated with him demanding to know why I just didn't have a hysterectomy, since it was clear children weren't in our future. I felt trapped, humiliated and utterly powerless with this man.

    The irony of all of this only when I stopped going to church did I start getting better, and we're expecting our first child...19 years after we were married. No, not going to church wasn't why my conditions improved, but I can't help but wonder how much it helped my immune system being under constant attack.

    But I just cant make myself go back to our ward. Hes still there, and I just can't bring myself to be in the same room with him, and his family, all of who are the literal paragons of that ward (you all know that family, every ward has a few) so there is no safe person for me to go to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That sounds really awful and difficult and hurtful. I am sorry that happened to you. Something similar happened to a friend of mine and she later told me that the experience taught her about her testimony and forced her to examine why it was she attended church. She found friendship and a safe place while serving in the primary with me. She is an incredible woman and I am better for having served with her. (Among other things he was a big advocate for our kids with special needs and I would have really missed getting her perspective if she hadn't been there.) I can also see that the Bishop has learned a thing or two about sensitivity since he was first called and the entire ward has benefitted from that. (Of course no one is perfect and I am not saying that your ward members will have learned, not everyone does.) I am sure there is a "safe person" and/or a safe place for you in your ward. It may take time to find it and it probably won't be easy. I wish I could be it for you! And congratulations on the baby btw, I pray everything will go smoothly for you. Being a new mom is also isolating, but it is also easier to start up conversations by talking about your new little one. Good luck!

      Delete
  86. AnonymousMay 24, 2016

    ^^^I like your comment. I've been in lots of wards and never noticed a lot of gossip or meanness in any of them. I think I'm just oblivious. :). My sisters tease my about being clueless. Maybe that's a good thing. I have had wards where I've felt more self-conscious about lack of nice clothes etc. and wards that I've felt positively wealthy in. I've definitely had times when I thought about leaving church and not coming back, one of which times a random lady came and sat by me in RS and totally changed my mind right there in a short conversation. (The only time someone talked to me the whole 8 months I went to that ward--but I knew The Lord was looking out for me when it needed it.) At each of my lowest points RS has been my saving grace. My last ward's RS was amazing, I felt buoyed up almost every Sunday and I think it was a blessing that I never had a calling that took me out of RS the whole 3 years I lived there. I know from experience that's not always the case. I mean I needed that after having severe post partum depression, and seriously questioning my belief in the church altogether. And then an unexpected child being given to us and me feeling hugely guilty because we didn't bond and I felt so unChristlike and resentful (it's still a little awkward and she's a teenager now) and then deeply hurt by a bishopric members stern lecture he gave me when I really had been trying my best--the YW end of year program, can't think of the name now, but I was in charge and it had fallen apart like a comedy if errors. It really was disastrous but not for my lack of effort, I found it as frustrating as anyone. And anyway I really had no desire or motivation for anything and it took 3 years in that ward to try to build back up to daily prayers, scripture study like before all that. So I get it about church. But I just wanted to say that I LOVE RS. And please don't be sooo judgemental of the women who don't sit by you of may say insensitive things, some of them may be like me and just oblivious and lost in their own problems or just relishing the fact they don't have a billion toddlers hanging off them and also sometimes I just like to sit alone (introvert that I am) but mostly I'm probably just clueless and more than a little selfish. Let's face it most of the time I'm there because I'm trying to get through my week, I'm not so great about worrying about others. I know that's terrible of me, but I just wanted to point out that I would never ever purposefully try to exclude someone or hurt them with a comment, but that doesn't mean it probably hasn't happened. And I know I can be judgemental especially of teenage girls in barely there clothing, but as I get older and have a teenager myself and nieces that age, well you live and learn. I am so rambling, I just wanted to give a different perspective. God bless anyone that feels like they don't want to be at church, that's certainly a miserable period to be in.

    ReplyDelete
  87. I remember trying to explain to my R/S president why I, a single sister who is quickly arriving at an age where I can no longer have children, couldn't watch women's conference amongst the sisters who had kids and husbands. She just looked at me like I was strange to want to watch it alone where the truth is I wanted to be alone so I could ball my eyes out because I wants kids and to be married so much.
    Or trying to explain to my bishop why I have panic attacks whenever I teach primary classes. It hurts so much to see children who will never be mine and parents who are just lip service, jack mormons with kids who don't even know who Noah is, Noah! Why can't I have kids to read stories about the great flood or shepherds that like to chop off arms.
    I sympathise with anyone who finds going to church difficult but despite how much it hurts I won't stop.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Please please know that you are needed and loved! I hope someday you can give Primary a second chance because those children could be blessed by your nurturing and teaching, most especially when they aren't getting it at home. I had primary and seminary teachers that made a profound difference in my life and I look on them as mothers.

      Delete
  88. It was meant to be that life would be a challenge. To suffer some anxiety, some depression, even some failure is normal. If you have a good miserable day once in a while - or several in a row- stand steady and face them. Things will straighten our. There is a great purpose in our struggle in life. Boyd K. Packer.

    ReplyDelete
  89. AnonymousMay 24, 2016

    I loved reading this blog and I love R.S. I journal a bit, and my "rant" not too long ago was "why don't the sister's in R.S. every want to answer questions? I felt like I was answering two questions every single week, and other sisters didn't say a word ever. I was actually mad that people didn't love R.S.! After reading all these comments for the last hour I feel like H.F. is answering my journal rant. Thank you so much for everyone enlightening me! I have been a convert for 32 years, and I have felt like a black sheep at times, but I don't let it get me down. I know we are a peculiar people, and I never try to be perfect. In fact I try not to put myself down, but I always end up telling the worst stories about myself in class. Hmmm maybe that is why I've never been asked to work with the Young Women. I like private people, and I would never tell people at my job all the stories I tell in Church. If someone is at Church and doesn't like me, then I don't care if they have issues with my real stories. No I don't think R.S. is a place to have group therapy, but it definitely is a place where you can feel safe, and share real life stories. I like to stay on topic, and I like to let other's have a turn, but I can't stand silence, it is such a waste. I love to talk, and I couldn't figure out why everyone didn't feel the same. My solution to feeling like a black sheep is to not think too much about it. I know H.F. loves me as much as I love my kids. And because I love my kids to the moon and back ... then I feel pretty good. I think I have forced myself to go to Church for 32 years, but I have not regretted it one single time. It is only the first five minutes that is hard. But I force myself to go to work full time for the last eight years too. I have never regretted that either. Money and spirituality are pretty important things in my life, and I don't judge others, I have made plenty of poor choices. I see my 21 year old daughter not going to Church, but I don't freak out, she is in love with her hubby who doesn't want to go either. They love their son. One day it will be important to them I'm sure. I don't feel better, or more blessed than her, I just worry a little that this life is the easiest time to grow spiritually, and I don't want her to miss out on that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. AnonymousMay 28, 2016

      For me one of the worse things about going to church is those teachers who try to FORCE everyone to participate, I feel like that adds to my anxiety of being there while also beginning to despise the person forcing me to feel one way. I'm there, I'm listening, I'm trying... It maybe quiet and it may put you on edge to have that, but for ME... those quite pauses have always been the best spiritual moments for me. I hope you think about that as you teach.

      Delete
  90. thanks for "telling it like it is",,I have felt this way in the past, & it doesn't matter whether, you're single, married, divorced w/ or w/o kids, etc. etc., everyone has their own path and their own journey. Like has been said above, I believe the real reason to go is to partake of the sacrament, and feel the Spirit. Not to "save face" or make sure the Bishop sees that you're there, or just fulfill your calling and then hurry home and get out of that dress or suit and EAT & RELAX! However, for a year now, I've felt at home in my new ward w/ my "new" husband, and it feels REALLY good! You can only control your own thoughts, feelings, emotions, etc.. You can't worry about what other people think when they look at you or if they're judging you etc., I try NOT to worry about ANY of that anymore, & I wish other people didn't feel like they have to put on the fake smile that says "I'm at church so, you'll not think negatively of me" or whatever. I like your advice about if you don't particularly like the speaker or lesson being taught, you can look up a conference talk etc., or just get up and leave,(who cares what others think!) I sometimes just go to the ladies' room, and sit in the stall, just to be alone for a few minutes & take a few deep breaths! Everyday, I just try a little harder to do a little better and if that's not "good enough" in some people's eyes then, so be it. Last week, I went to Sac.,mtg w/o my hubby, but, sat with a friend who's hubby wasn't there as well, & it turned out just fine. A lot of times, I think we make up scenarios in our minds and then believe something that isn't real after all! Worrying that we're not good enough is counterproductive! NONE of us are perfect, that's why we're here on this earth cuz life is a classroom NOT a test, the Lord and Savior will help us if we let Him. Thanks,

    ReplyDelete
  91. I find that most people that don't want to go to church are because someone else made them feel unwelcome, whether real or imagined. I have felt this at times. But I don't go to church for other people I go to church for me and to make a connection with God. Once I realize that I don't have to please other people I'm there to make myself better, and I know my situation, so I know the lessons that I hear or teach may not affect me at the moment as I'm in transition. Remember the churches are hospitals everyone there is going through something. And though we may think that they're judging us they may not even think of us at all. Church should be a safe place for all and I have found that most of that acceptances in my own mind. I pray you find peace you're looking for.

    ReplyDelete
  92. AnonymousMay 25, 2016

    Your comments touched me and I too find it hard sometimes to go to church. I have a commitment with teaching Sunday School that keeps me on track but even then it is hard. I do know that it is God how I am serving and not the people of the church so don't let them be your reason for not going. We have gone through many different pastors and it can be hard getting use to a new Shepard but I know my true Shepard is Jesus Christ and they are just the vessel He is using.

    ReplyDelete
  93. I'm married with children, but I have social anxiety and am also overcoming agoraphobia. We live in a wonderful area with 3 great wards (I've been in all 3). But I still find myself not knowing many people after about 17 years here due to my extreme anxiety. The members have been very kind and understanding, but it still takes all I got to go to church. I'm now able to sit through Sacrament meeting (thanks to much prayer and therapy), and am taking steps to be able to sit through Sunday School and eventually Relief Society. I carry in my bag my journal so I can write my thoughts as I sit through Sacrament. I can't read while people are talking, otherwise I'd open my scriptures or a church magazine and read those. But I have to keep my hands busy to help me stay focused on the talks. Sometimes I'll even take a small crochet project (I'm slowly making hats for charity). Thankfully, I have the Lord on my side and He helps me find ways to do the things He commands me to do. Now I more fully understand 1 Nephi 3:7. As a teen I never would have guessed that that verse wouldn't become just another scripture mastery verse.

    ReplyDelete
  94. I've often gone to be an example for my daughter and because I'm supposed to. Shortly before my daughter was born my then-husband decided church wasn't for him. I kept going because I didn't feel the same. After she was born, especially once she got too old to sit still but was still too young for nursery, I often wondered why I went. I wasn't getting anything out of it. I was constantly paying attention to my daughter, and I couldn't pass her off to anyone during those 3 hours. Now that she's in primary the distraction is gone, but I still often don't want to go. As a single mom I don't have a lot of time to relax during the week, and a big part of me wants to sleep in on Sundays (as much as a 5 yr old lets you sleep in) and be lazy all day. But again, I want to be an example to my daughter, and I want to take the Sacrament. I don't know that I feel a lot of hurt at church, but I do feel loneliness when I see so many of my fellow saints with spouses and large families, things I want but don't have. I'm in a great ward with many kind, caring people, but even so, sometimes I don't go for the right reasons. But I still go. It's nice to know I'm not alone.

    ReplyDelete
  95. I'm thinking about doing a Relief Society lesson on this subject. I would certainly welcome any thoughts or advice, especially on how to approach it sensitively.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you read through every comment here, it should be enough to prepare to teach the subject with the utmost sensitivity. Kudos for being brave enough to teach a lesson like this. This is the kind of lesson people yearn for.

      Delete
    2. Thank you! I'm printing them out and I'm going to highlight certain things and introduce scriptures and quotes to support the principles that apply. I certainly do appreciate this article and all the comments.

      Delete
  96. AnonymousMay 28, 2016

    Two years later and this is still a relevant subject. Lately for me, I've had the most trouble with Relief Society, i'm trying to work through it... but this has for me always been a struggle ever since my reactivation in 2006. I'll take some of theses suggestions and try them out.

    ReplyDelete
  97. This is wonderful. Can't begin to tell you of the times I've gone to church when it hurt. Someone saying something very hurtful. People snubbing you. Being single until age 35. Being childless. Having a disability others don't see/understand. It all doesn't really matter though because I know that what others think and do doesn't matter in the long run. I have as much right to be there as anyone. I will be the best I can be. I may be knitting or reading talks but I am there.

    ReplyDelete
  98. AnonymousJune 06, 2016

    Going to church was difficult after my son became involved in a highly publicized crime and ended up serving time in jail. It was plastered all over the media and of course the media does not always report things accurately. It was very difficult to hear some of the hateful and judgemental things people were saying. i found great strength in my other children, they handled the publicity with a grace and dignity I was unaware they had. We got through the ordeal by building a strong family unit and sticking together. One never really knows one's strength or one's limits until there is a test of faith. There were difficult times, but we got through it as a family by holding onto the gospel for dear life. One of the greatest comforts to me was a talk given by president Eyring during conference that year. He described a grandmother who was distressed when she had to visit her grandson in jail and asked The lord why this trial. She recieved the answer that the grandchild was sent to her family because she could love him. That talk was such an answer to my prayers, I had cried the entire 4 hour trips to the jail each week and had asked the same questions. It was interesting how when I read over my children's patriarchal blessings, the child in jail was told he had been sent to a loving family that would stand by him in times of trouble, and the other children's blessings speak of their individual roles in showing love to that sibling. It was also interesting to me that I had 2 ways I could look at things. I can beat myself up because none of my children are perfect and didn't turn out the way I had envisioned or, I can look at how I have been successful at teaching them to love and serve one another. The best ammunition we have against cruel and hurtful individuals is to hold strong to the gospel and know that our father in heaven will support and love us if we are humble enough to ask for help. I can stop going to church because people have been mean and judgemental, or I can hold my head up with dignity and carry on. This is Heavenly Father's church, and we all have a place, even though we may not feel we do. We all have imperfections as well...Let him without sin cast the first stone.....

    ReplyDelete
  99. AnonymousJune 11, 2016

    I love to see that I'm not alone; that none of us are! How heartwarming for me! I appreciate so much honesty shared here. Love to all of you.

    ReplyDelete
  100. I am good now but I have had 2 children fall away from the church and for a time right after they left I could hardly get thru a sunday without going to the bathroom to bawl. It was worse after my son he was the second child to fall away and the one with the biggest testimony. He was 18 finishing highschool and thinking forward to his mission then all of a sudden bam he quit going to church and announced that he would not be going on a mission. Every talk on missionaries, every mission farewell was just so painful, it is a little better but it can still bring me to tears on some sundays. I have never thought about not coming to church since it is the other sisters and members that lift me up.

    ReplyDelete
  101. AnonymousJune 22, 2016

    I'm glad I found this blog, because most other LDS places it always uses your name or picture. My story goes way back to when I was born. I was born to a woman who should not have had children. She did not know anything about love, nuturing,etc. She knew how to abuse or allowed someone else to abuse me. I'm talking about every category, sexual, physical and mental/emotional. I started hearing voices when I was a toddler, all the time and still do, I'm in my 60s now. I was not born into the church. I am a convert. I have struggled with depression and fight with suicidal ideas and thoughts all my life. I never learned what love is, and still don't, nor can I feel it. I am absolutely dead inside, however, I hold on to the faith, am a current temple recommend holder. But to be honest I no longer want to or have the desire to be on this earth anymore. It is so difficult for priesthood leaders to grasp me and understand me, so I've given up talking to them. Besides I've had some really bad experiences with present and past bishops and stake presidents, that I no longer feel safe with anyone. I moved to a new area six months ago and my old bishop called the new bishop, whatever he told him, I cannot ask for any sort of help, including food. So halfway through every month I run out of everything including food, when you have no job, no family, no friends, do you know how hard it is to realize you have no one you can go to for help or even someone to talk to? I hate being hungry. I've come to the realization that no one finds me special or important. Please keep in mind that I really can't feel, this is the hardest thing to explain to LDS people. I have no sense of His care. It is not a spiritual problem. It is caused by severe abuse. I would love my situation to be temporary and it would pass, it will not, until this life is over. Members need to understand that all of us are His children. Not just those that come from "normal" families. I am alone all the time, mainly because the church stresses family so much that that is what they focus on, their families only. Please refrain from giving advice, I don't want it. I would like to find someone I could trust and feel safe with, someone that would unconditionally give me a soft place to fall on. I struggle with praying, only because it's hard when you can't feel. I have been diagnosed with lupus, schezoiod affective disorder/bipolar, MPD and post traumatic stress disorder. If you're a single woman, of any kind, in this church that the older you get you slowly fade away into the wall. But I continue to pretend and smile on the outside because that's what people want to see and hear. But on the inside I silently cry and most every day I cry on the outside too. There's so much more I have to say, but I don't want to overburden people because I've learned if I say too much it scares people and they push further away. I do not exaggerate. I am an open book. I'm just frank and honest. Thank you for allowing me to express myself as me.

    ReplyDelete