I ran into an old boyfriend from highschool on a networking website. I just sent him a quick not saying Hi. He was very surprised that I would even speak to him.
We went on our first date before I was quite 16 (it is strongly advised that kids refrain from dating until they are 16 and even then group dates are encouraged), but I was able to go because my parents were out of town, so they didn't know about it. We dated for several months then my parents found out about some of his dealings and they forbade me to see him. I continued to sneak over to friends houses and school functions in order to see him without telling my parents. I remember one day he and my friend walked from Folsom High School all the way to Bella Vista, in Fair Oaks, to come visit my friends and I.
So, we got to talking and I shared with him what I have been going through lately about my feelings towards the church. He told me some things that I really needed to hear. That I don't hear when I go to church. He joined the church as a youth, but he has not been attending for the last few years because of the way people treated him.
I want to share part of one of the letters he sent:
.........I would think that you have always and probably will always struggle a little when searching for people that have much in common with you. I know that I have a terrible time finding people with things in common, but I'm very fortunate in the fact that I don't really care anymore. It doesn't matter to me if there is anyone else dancing to the music that I'm listening to....
.... Something for you to understand is that you are not perfect...i know i know it's hard to believe but you aren't. What's even harder to believe is that that is okay. Something I was always so worried that you would lose sight of is the fact that your relationship with your heavenly father is simply that. It's YOUR relationship with your Heavenly Father. Your parents, your brother your friends approval or disapproval does nothing to affect his opinion of you or that relationship. We learned that Christ died for our sins a long time ago, and everything that you are dealing with has already been paid for, there is no benefit in berrating yourself, flogging yourself, or even blogging yourself into a pulp because you made a mistake. You were supposed to make those mistakes, you were supposed to fail, you were supposed to come to this earth and be human and so far you are doing a fantastic job.
You cannot lose your standing in the church, if you understand that what makes up the church is your relationship with God. It is not up to the bishopric to decided who is worthy or unworthy of anything, it is up to you to decide what is right and what is wrong.
There is no one's love in this world that you are unworthy of. I can tell you right now though that based on your life with your parents you believe that you are unworthy of a lot. Get over it. Understand once and for all that there is nothing you can do about yesterday, there is nothing you can do about anything that has happened before the exact nanosecond you are existing in. Based on that knowledge you have a choice. You can chose to spend the next precious moments of your life wallowing in something which will do absolutely nothing, or you can decide to live life the best way you know how as a human.
.....The only thing that will truly prevent you from being happy is your own unwillingness to forgive yourself the way the God you worship already has, and allow love into your life which is all Heavenly Father really wants for you anyways.
It felt so good to hear some loving words of encouragement. It is true that I am very hard on myself. I get a lot of pressure from my parents to do what is "right" so that I can be "worthy" of the blessings the Lord has for me (ie: a man take me to the temple and support me).