When it Hurts to Gather with the Saints

I am going to make a confession that may get me into trouble in the near future (like tomorrow): I really don’t like going to church. I love studying my scriptures (I’m doing our ward Book of Mormon reading in Spanish for something new), I love singing the hymns, I love feeling the Spirit.

But I have a real issue with the people.

Let’s establish right now that I know I’m not perfect. I also know the largest part of the equation is me. Coming from a background of abuse, I am wired to see shame and blame behind every action of anyone. I haven’t completely overcome that habit. I know that I have to forgive all of the hurts and slights that I feel I have received without trying to force apologies out of anyone. It’s my duty to fast and pray for the strength and wisdom to follow President Kimball’s advice from 40 years ago and “Let it go.”

I also know that I have fasted and prayed for years. [6/14/2017 I have edited out specific references to individuals and events that were previously mentioned at this point in my post. My intent was mostly to paint a more real picture of what I see and feel, but a few individuals felt that I was calling fellow ward members out. That was not my intent. I offer my sincerest apologies to anyone who’s feelings have been hurt.]

I’ve studied the idea of reverse judging as a defense mechanism. It’s what I’m doing, but it doesn’t make it right and it doesn’t make the problem go away. I’ve tried to “just love,” but that is kind of foreign territory. Remember, I’m wired to believe that anyone who is not actively my friend is my enemy.

It would be so easy to quit going to church and avoid the emotional struggle! I would definitely feel like less of a hypocrite. I want to listen and really ponder what is being spoken and taught, but I end up burying myself in scriptures and conference talks on my computer to drown out the hurtful voices in my head.

Moving doesn’t seem to be in the cards, because there’s a lot of growth potential here, and the Lord seems perfectly content to let me struggle and grow. It wouldn’t solve the underlying problems, anyway.

No, I have to keep moving forward. I have to keep trying. I have to be obedient, because I have too much of a testimony to do anything else.

In Doctrine and Covenants 44:2, the Lord is talking to the elders of the church — but I believe it applies to everyone.

And it shall come to pass, that inasmuch as they are faithful, and exercise faith in me, I will pour out my Spirit upon them in the day that they assemble themselves together.

So, I will go to church tomorrow. I will try to follow the counsel that I have been given in this verse to look for the outpouring of the Spirit. I will also try to follow President Hinckley’s advice to look for the good. (I think President Monson also has taught this.) I’m not expecting to be perfect, but I expect to get better each time I try.