Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Finding Faith

Finding what you really believe in has not been simple for me. I grew up going to the LDS church learning one thing on Sundays and seeing another thing during the week. Obviously made life a bit confusing so what did I do? Ignore most of it. I remember hearing people talk in church saying how they "know" certain things or had an "AHH" moment that changed their life. Hmm. Sounded good to me so I mimicked it all. Through the years I continued to shadow others and their "beliefs" That then lead me to one day being alone. The people I followed were gone out of my daily life and I was left with nothing. I tried to make up what I "believed" and remember what others were saying to me but it left me with wrong answers and eventually becoming bitter. Bitter about God? No- but bitter about religion. I started to hear these answers to questions that didn't make sense in my life- what I went through in the past didn't add up to what everyone was telling me. Of course people don't make up a religion- I know that, however it was things they were telling me was right out of their scriptures. I tried for over a year to juggle my feelings, thoughts and believe me I was actively trying to find the truth for me.
I finally was left with no answers and more angry with everything than I was when I started. Life continued on and I tried to just get all this "belief" talk out of my life. NO SUCH LUCK! Not only living in Utah but having close family be part of this didn't leave me with it out of my life. It was actively pushed at me, talked about and life was revolved around it many times, Leading me to become more angry!
In January 2008 my best bud and little brother left to serve a mission for this belief I was so angry with. When he left It brought me back a few years to the "alone" feeling I felt that first time. When he left he asked me to try and find my belief again. Oh GREAT! This again! I started doing things like meeting with other missionaries that tried to answer some questions I had- didn't have much luck with them other than getting a few things straightened out and getting to a place I didn't feel as much "anger"

So here I am now- Feeling pretty comfortable with who I am and the path I am living. My belief= God. This may sound silly but I feel like there might be more. I am not sure but I am one of those people that for me and my life I want to completely eliminate any questions I have other wise I sit and stew on them everyday until I resolve it. So after this last weekend when there was a conference I was hoping I could hear from others- what it was like for them. Its been so long since I have listened to anything and I have pushed it out of my life so much that I don't remember the simple things like what certain people are called. Yeah that sounds really dumb but by pushing it away so much it was the only way for me to feel happy and not have that anger. So for those who have a belief and esp. for those who have heard this conference. Can I ask your feelings? I know some people are afraid to speak about this topic but I thought your suppose to- maybe I am wrong and remembering things wrong but regardless I am someone reaching out to anyone. I don't care if I don't know you and you stumbled across this blog. I want to know what you think-


Tara Bennett said...

Kendra, I so appreciate your willingness to share! I think it is important to be honest with ourselves and others about what we believe or don't believe or question.

I went through something very similar when I was about your age (wow that makes me sound so old, but well I guess I am old). I mentioned that I was questioning my beliefs to a church leader, and he told me that he so respected that I had questions, because that meant my soul was yearning to progress, that I no longer wanted to live off borrowed light, but wanted to light my own belief system and see the world and my purposes more clearly.

I would advise you as he advised me. You believe in God. Pray to Him. Talk to Him as the friend and Father that He is. Explain where you are and why. Talk about your feelings, there is no greater healer, and He will heal you through the atonement.

Get to know Jesus Christ. He is found in the scriptures, the words of the prophets, and the Holy Ghost. Read the scriptures. Study the words of prophets. Live your life so the Holy Ghost can be with you. Christ will emulate your perspective. You will come to understand your pain and the importance of letting go of it, the importance of forgiveness, the importance of moving forward, all possible only with the power of the atonement.

The atonement is real. I promise you, I have been at rock bottom, and I was catapulted upward when I allowed the atonement to change me.

Kendra you are a beautiful person. The simple fact that you are seeking answers means that you are being guided by the Holy Ghost. You are so charitable and full of love. You have a wonderful foundation to finding more truth which will bring more joy. Don't give up and allow Heavenly Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost to help you. And very often you will find them through the lives and actions of others. Seek and find!

Tara Bennett said...

When I was done writing my comment, I went to my blog and the quote of the day was this:

Wonder rather than doubt is the root of all knowledge.
~Abraham Joshua Heschel

It made me think of you. You will find the knowledge you are looking for because you are allowing yourself to wonder!

ML said...

I can understand why you feel the way you do. Life isn't fair, and I know you've had maybe more than your fair share of heartache. I don't think we'll ever know the answers to all of our questions in this life. Ultimately nobody can tell you what to believe in. Only you can decide that.

As you know I grew up in the same religion you did, and while I did go through a period in my life when I questioned it, I am still active in it. Some of my siblings are not anymore. Even though I served a mission, there are definitely times when I would like to deny it all and stop worrying so much about all the things I should or shouldn't be doing. I often feel that I will never be able to live up to all the ideals. But as much as I would sometimes like to deny it, I can't.

In your search for truth, don't focus on an imperfect religion and its imperfect members. There are some things about our church and its culture that drive me crazy, too. Focus on Christ and his teachings.

One of my favorite quotes by Ezra Taft Benson is, "The Lord works from the inside out. The world works from the outside in. The world would take people out of the slums. Christ takes the slums out of people, and then they take themselves out of the slums. The world would mold men by changing their environment. Christ changes men, who then change their environment. The world would shape human behavior, but Christ can change human nature. Yes, Christ changes men and changed men can change the world."

Along those lines, another author wrote of Christ, "The woman taken in adultery, when repentant, was not stoned, but forgiven for her weakness...The Samaritan outcast became a person worthy of honor and concern. For one of the first things Jesus did when he reconciled man to God was to restore human dignity."

Both of these quotes are touching to me because they are so true. I have seen the effects of Christ's influence in my own life and in other people's lives. Christ restores human dignity and helps us rise above the slums in our lives. His teachings have given me lasting peace and hope in my life. I hope you find the answers to your questions.

ML said...

Hey, here is one more of my favorite quotes. "Mortality’s supreme test is to face the “why” and then let it go, trusting humbly in the Lord’s promise that “all things must come to pass in their time.” This is a hard one to put into practice, but I think it's true.

FROGGITY! said...

i came here to say thanks for stopping by my blog, but girl you have given me a LOT of food for thought!!

my personal belief is that Jesus Christ is LORD. i have been doing a study on Galatians, and it has really opened my eyes to the fact that nothing i do (or don't do) can ever get me into heaven but that Jesus wants me just as i am and all i have to do is believe in him. it's literally a free gift and now that reality is hitting me hard! whew! it makes me feel better too, because i have a history of not being able to measure up... to human standards, that is. i find joy in that he wants to give us the world, if we'll just accept it. ANYTIME you'd like to email back and forth - have a dialogue or anything at all, just let me know! always love to hear different p.o.v.'s and contemplate the hard questions in life.

meanwhile, i hope you are feeling better!! i know a few people with chron's and it is not fun... but they are managing and feeling better these days. i wish you all of the best and hope to hear from you!!!!

That Girl said...

Oh, how have I not known of your blog until now? I have been going through the EXACT same feelings you are. I grew up in the same religion and also live in Utah where it is so prevelant.

I recently lost a dear sibling to suicide and it really caused me to question everything I have ever believed in. I prayed and meditated about what people were telling me and how I "should" feel according to them. The answer I got? That God and Jesus love us all, and that life really is all about forgiveness and love. Judgement and rituals are man-made (in my opinion), and if you look at the teachings of Jesus Christ, our Savior, you will see that he taught through only love. We all have our own paths and contrary to popular belief, there isn't a one-size-fits-all answer. I believe there is more than one path back to Him.

I hope that helps. It has brought me a lot of comfort in my searching. Hope I didn't overstep any bounds...

Stephanie Waite said...

Faith is believing and acting on that belief before you know. It is difficult to act by faith. Faith is something we must pray for and exercise. Whatever particle of faith we do have, we must exercise it to expand it and help it grow. We act on it.

As we do, step by step and line by line, our faith becomes more sure and expands to other areas. You believe in God. Pray to him with your whole soul. Be open in your heart to finding His voice of peace within you. Then follow this peace in any measure you can to expand your belief and thus your faith.

I watched the conference. I believe the talks were inspired. Many of them spoke to me. Many people ask me questions or for advice on my blog. People I do not know. Pretty much every person who has asked this week -- the answer or the advice they seek was given in conference. It just is an evidence to me that God is putting the answers out there. But are we listening? And if we are listening, are we believing? If so, we ought to be questioning less and testing more to increase our faith in these principles.

I hope you are able to increase your faith by taking the leap to test those principles you can at least desire to believe. May the Lord guide you in your journey.


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