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Monday, October 19, 2015

When You Really Need Help . . .

Dear Bro Jo,

I'm just going to jump straight to the point. Alright, I really need some advice. I have some really troublesome problems in a whole bunch of different areas.

First, I am having a really hard time believing. I've tried everything, done everything we're asked in the Church to do, and I just.. my mind won't make sense of it. I don't know what to think..

I want to believe, I really do. And it kills me that I won't. There are a lot of reasons that I hate myself, and this is probably the biggest one.

But it's not that I feel this way all the time. There will be days where I think, "Golly, there is no question in my mind that this is the true Church."

And then the next day I'll be thinking, "Where is my faith? Where did it go?" It's all so confusing and stressful. And, well.. *sigh*

When I was very little, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. She suffered for a long time, and a month and a half after my sixth birthday, she died. I didn't really understand this at the time, because I was so young. But like.. nobody told me she was dying. I didn't get to say goodbye.. And my family never did anything like hug, or say "I love you" or anything like that. I feel like she died thinking I hated her..

Anywho, within a couple weeks, my dad already had a new girlfriend.

He married my step mom 6 months after my mom passed away. I didn't mind it then, but now that I'm older, it does not seem right to me, at all.

My dad was abusive. Sexually, mentally, physically. I've been molested, called names, been beaten. It's all made me so insecure.

About three years ago, in eighth grade, I started cutting myself, thinking suicidal thoughts, way too much. I became anorexic, I was lucky if I ate once a day.

I've had alcohol. It was a tiny sip, but I still feel so guilty...

I have a lot on my mind. I think and talk about drugs a lot. I hang around people that do drugs like marijuana. I want to try it SO bad, but I know it will ruin me.

Why do I want it so bad..?

My language is vulgar and crude. I hate it, so much.

My high school offers Seminary as a class because we live in a predominately LDS community. I ditch that class sometimes.

I go to Church afraid to take the sacrament, because I honestly don't know if I'm actually worthy or not.

I'm getting my patriarchal blessing in a few weeks. Do you think that will help me at all..?

I hope it does.

My boyfriend is LDS, and he believes firmly that this is the true Church. But he doesn't want to go on a mission, he wants to get married soon after we graduate.

He's willing to obey some of the rules, and others he just doesn't care about. I don't know what to think anymore..

Sometimes when I'm distressed I read D&C 122: 7-9.

"And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or in the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; and if thou shouldst be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of Hell shall gape up the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and they shall be for thy good. The son of man hath descended below them all, art thou greater than he? Therefore, hold on thy way, and the priesthood shall remain within thee; for their bounds are set, they cannot pass. Thy days are known, and thy years shall not be numbered less; therefore, fear not what man can do, for God shall be with you forever and ever."

It's my favourite scripture.. It makes me cry. I wish I could have that much faith..

I'm honestly not sure if this is to ask for help, or just to vent.

Either way, I would love it, if you were to answer my email.

I'm really sorry for telling you all of this. I know you probably have better things to do.

Either way, thank you, so much.

It means so much more than you know.


- Scared Yet Hopeful.

Dear Hopeful,

I've been reading and re-reading your email during this General Conference . . . I'm always amazed at how Conference seems to be "just for me", as if everyone speaking knew exactly what I needed to hear.

This time around I can't help but feel that so much of what is being said is for you, too, and I hope that as you've enjoyed the messages that you've felt the same.

I certainly don't have anything "better" to do than to read your email, and I'm glad that you wrote.

I'm sorry and saddened that you've had such a difficult life so far.

No one deserves the pain you've felt, or to have to endure the things you've had to endure so far, but (for reasons I don't always understand) sometimes life happens that way.

You have some mountains to climb, and clearly that's made more difficult by some of the people in your life; I appreciate the scripture you shared and your testimony (although you may not have meant it as such) of the positive power that the Gospel has in our lives.

Your email reminds me that when times seem darkest, if we do those things that help us to feel the Savior's love (attending seminary and sacrament meeting, singing hymns of the Gospel, pondering the Word of God) that life becomes easier to endure.

I most definitely think that a Patriarchal Blessing will help. But I also think that you need to begin to heal.

I will always be here for you, and hope that you'll write me often to let me know how you're doing, vent as needed, or just to chat, but your local Church leaders (like your Bishop, Relief Society and Young Women's presidents) need to hear from you.

I'd like you to set an appointment with your Bishop today.

Tell him that you just need to chat about some things . . . you can even tell him that a friend (me) encouraged you to talk to him.

Pray first, and then tell him what you've told me.

Because he holds priesthood keys, and because he lives in your area, he'll have tools to help you that I don't.

Don't get discouraged about the size of the mountain you may have to climb.

Know that we're all climbing, and that our journey can sometimes be much easier if, rather than worry how far we have to go, we simply take one step at a time.

You're not alone.

Know that nothing external (pot, alcohol, self-harm, sexual stuff) will truly heal you; people turn to those things to escape their problems, but all they do is make things worse.

When we're distracted by "self-medicating" we cease to move closer to God, and the demons in our lives close the gaps that we've put between us and them.

If you think of it in terms of running a race, it's like stopping in the middle to take a break; instead of getting closer to the finish line, we lose focus on the goal.

The key is to get running again.

Even if that's just one step at a time.

Make your next step calling the Bishop.

Then, after you meet with him, you'll know the next step to take.

Trust in the Lord, and don't stop doing the things you're doing right: keep reading your Scriptures, pray every day, and do your best to get to your Church classes and meetings.

May you feel the love of the Savior every day,

- Bro Jo

Dear Bro Jo,

Thank you, a lot.

My bishop is also actually my neighbor. So it's easy yet scary all at the same time.

He's gotten a call before from one of my friends because he thought I was going to kill myself, though I really had no intentions of doing so..

So I told Bishop he had nothing to worry about.

So it's a bit intimidating. I honestly can't promise you that I will talk to him about it, but I can promise that I will think about it.

I actually haven't watched any conference sessions because I was cleaning, but I think we have them recorded, so I'll go do that.

But really, thanks again.

And I'll make sure to do those things.

- Hopeful

Dear Hopeful,

I'll take what I can get, but I can also promise you, having corresponded with several people in very similar situations to your own, that talking to your Bishop, while it seems understandably difficult, will go a long, long way towards helping you.

I promise.

- Bro Jo

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