In doubting my LDS faith I’ve gone through many emotions and stages of anger, grief and lose. At times I have doubted that God even exists (though rare and infrequent). My previous image of the LDS Church has changed from one of admiration to one of skepticism and as a result has made me more pessimistic about the role this religious institution plays in my life. I tend to view leaders (both local and church-wide) as good people and perhaps even good leaders, but lack confidence in their ability to express God’s words consistently. This has led me, out of necessity, to be more questioning about statements made in church meetings, including General Conference. I notice the inconsistencies that before would have passed by me unnoticed. They now grate my ears like sandpaper.
The spiritual drain caused by this constant word watching (which I feel I must do) has caused me to be apathetic toward the LDS Church. I’ve been this way for about a year now and I’m not sure I like it. I don’t want to be the hopeless malcontent who is never happy and always finds a reason to be upset. It worries me that I don’t do my home teaching or put more effort into my calling as a teacher. Not because the Bishop or anyone else will think poorly of me, I worry that my attitude is not very Christian. I should be going home teaching and sharing an uplifting message with the families which I have been assigned to. I should want to lift them up and help them regardless of our differences and my struggles with the Church itself. I believe a true disciple of Christ would do that, yet I have fallen short.
This whole experience has caused me to “slacken my strength”. I know many of my critics would say that lack of the Spirit is the reason for my spiritual downfall and I don’t deny they could be right. Before I began learning about Church history I was not reading my scripture everyday or attending the temple every month. However, I think most members don’t do these things consistently either, which does not make my case much different than the average member. Nevertheless, I admit that since my doubts began I have neglected personal scripture study, which I believe to be a mistake. I can no longer remain in a constant pessimistic state toward the LDS faith, it is not the person I want to be, nor is it truly who I am. Looking for the good among the bad has always worked best for me. I have lost sight of that by letting the bad overtake me and my thoughts. I fear that if I continued on my present course of pessimism I would never be able to be fully happy again. Things in the Church still cause me to sorrow, but it is time for me to feel joyful again, to feel close to God and know the peace that brings.
Has doubting your faith made you pessimistic? How have you dealt with these negative feelings?