Tuesday, March 4, 2014
# 32: I Felt the Spirit When I Prayed in Church
A few Sundays ago, I got to Church really early. Sacrament meeting started at 9 and I got there at 8:15. My wife is the choir director and she had a rehearsal before Church because they were performing that day. So I sat in the pews, taking care of our two little daughters while the choir rehearsed.
I looked up at the choir, and they looked so comfortable, so happy, so secure in their testimonies. I can't really know what's going on in their hearts and minds, but I did feel that I was a different person than they were, because I believed differently about Joseph Smith and the Restoration. When I'm at Church, I often think, "These people don't want to hear from me," and "I don't really belong here."
A few minutes before sacrament meeting started, the Bishop came up to me and asked if I would say the opening prayer. I said sure.
So I gave the opening prayer. I said the stuff you ordinarily hear in an opening prayer. I asked Heavenly Father to send the Spirit to the speakers and singers, and I thanked him for allowing us to worship as we pleased in this free country, and I thanked him for all the people who made this sacrament meeting possible. After I said amen, and after I sat back down in my pew, I felt the Spirit.
That may sound like a boring story, but it was very meaningful to me. It was meaningful to me because two different sources, one earthly and one heavenly, were confirming to me that I should stay LDS. The earthly source was my bishop. He knows about my testimony situation. He's not only told me that I should stay LDS, but he's given me a calling, and he asked me to pray in Church. My bishop is the representative of the official Church. It's his job not only to protect the sheep in his flock, but to protect the official interests of the Church. So, it means a lot to me when a guy like that asks me to pray in sacrament meeting.
The heavenly source that confirmed to me that I should stay LDS was the Holy Ghost. It was a feeling of peace and calmness, a feeling of warmth in my chest. Even though I don't have a traditional testimony, I still feel the Spirit from time to time.
When I went through my faith crisis, I felt like the Church didn't want me and my dangerous ideas at Church anymore. I thought I wasn't welcome. I felt like I should be kept away from the youth, so I wouldn't poison their minds with tales of seer stones and polyandry and the Adam-God theory.
For example, I didn't do my home teaching for a while, because I was looking for a way out of the Church, but then when I was ready to start participating again, I asked the Elder's Quorum President for my home teaching assignment. I didn't even know what it was. He said he'd get back to me, and then about a month passed by, and I still didn't have a home teaching assignment. In my imagination, they were talking about me in Priesthood Executive Committee, saying "He's an apostate! Misterfake371 is to receive no callings or assignments. When you approach him, hum 'I am a Child of God' in your mind, and rub your CTR ring, to prevent his poison from seeping into your soul!"
So when the Elder's Quorum President didn't give me a home teaching assignment, I took that as a sign that the powers that be didn't want me participating. But I wanted to be sure, so I went to the Bishop, who knew about my lack of testimony, and I said, "Do you want me to home teach?" And he said, "That'd be great. Our home teaching numbers are terrible, so we need all the help we can get."
So that very Sunday on which I asked the Bishop, I got a call from a nice brother in the ward who said, "Guess what, Misterfake371, looks like we're home teaching companions!"
And I said "Great!"
And he said, "Great!"
And now we've been home teaching companions for about a year now and things are going just great.