UPDATE: Due to the OVERWHELMING response and traffic of this post (500,000 and counting), and after MUCH prayer and consideration, I am going to post the full story of my experience at the bottom of this post. I originally wrote the whole thing out after my Bishop urged me to do so. I was impressed to share it with my closest friend and family and so it is addressed to them. It is long. It is detailed. It is mind blowing. And for many of you, it may be unbelievable. But I have had utter and powerful confirmation again and again that what I am about to say is the truth and it is the will of heaven that I share it unto all nations, tongues and people. As far and as wide as possible. I don’t care how I am perceived. I have utter assurance that the sword of God is bracing up my courage. I thought about editing the format, but I decided to leave it. You need to feel how utterly choice and of worth those that are close to me are and how essential it is they walk this path with me. This is NOT a story just for Mormons. (There IS a lot of Mormon reference here, though. If you are unfamiliar with my religion and wish to know more, please go to lds.org or mormon.org. I will also GLADLY mail you a Book of Mormon if you feel uncomfortable requesting one from the church. You can email me with any questions: loraleechoate(At)gmail. Please hear this with an open heart. It is for ALL that wish to see how the power of God can change even the most damaged, weak and sinful in ONE BLINK OF AN EYE. This is not a work of ME, but a work of the great I AM. Share it. Shout it. ROAR IT TO THE WORLD.
Loralee (aka Alma the Younger 2.0)
The following is something that is sacred to me. Normally I keep anything close to that to myself, but it is crystal clear to me that this something that I should not only do, but I am utterly obligated to do. I love and welcome open discussion on my blog but because this is so deeply, intensely personal, I am not allowing commentary. Feel free to email me, but this work must stand as it is. And when I say it is sacred you must understand that there has been exactly ONE other experience in my life that I would consider sacred and that time was when my little baby was dying in my arms. This is the other one.
It is a fundamental principle that human beings strive for, look for, and reach for…more.
We constantly innovate, improve, and push farther and harder.
It is what we are made to do.
And just as fundamental is the fact that all humans will not accomplish this strive to be better in the same way or with the same tools. For example, there are a class of humans that strive and reach and feel their best when they, say, climb Mount Everest. Now, if *I* were expected to reach my maximum potential by climbing Mount Everest, I would fail dismally. And considering that my idea of a good workout is walking to my mailbox, I am not talking a small amount of fail here. Where some would feel strong, brave, and like they had literally climbed on top of the world, I would probably need hospitalization and intensive therapy from acquiring a raging fear of both heights and Sherpas. (Hey, Utah has a surprisingly large Sherpa populous. THE POSSIBILITY IS REAL, PEOPLE.)
The point is, that when you take in what I am about to say, I am asking you to keep in mind that I FIRMLY believe that people have endless possibilities of reaching excellence. One size does not fit all.
In my last post, the first I have written in a long, long time, I told you that I had finally achieved a sense of peace, health and happiness.
And I had.
And then the VERY next evening it was utterly blown to bits and pieces. (I KNOW, RIGHT???!!!!!!)
I have been very clear about myself and religion.
Honestly, I have never really been much of a fan. I was raised in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Many of you might have heard us referred to as Mormons. Now, if there was EVER a religion that I would NOT take naturally to, it would be this one. There is a very high level of commitment needed and many rules and requirements to live it at its purest form. I hardly ever discuss religion. Especially online. Besides not feeling the interest or qualification, I am the WORLDS LARGEST COWARD. Yup, you heard me…COWARD.
Especially regarding religion.
I care mightily what people think.
I have been utterly afraid of conflict, stress, hurting someone’s feelings, worry that the person I am speaking to will this I am mocking or disregarding their opinions or beliefs. And honestly, Mormons are almost genetically bred to be worried about outside opinion. I think it probably has to do with the fact that we are often hugely misunderstood, mocked, and it is also due to our extremely persecutor y history of our religion in the “Land of religious liberty”. When you know that it was legally sanctioned by the US government to kill Mormons in Missouri until 1976 , it tends to make ya think that everyone won’t be super open and friendly all the time. Aside from the more selfish motivations for my fear, I also have a very pure one; I truly love people and want everyone to sing and drink Coca Cola on a mountain top.
I was a seriously crappy Mormon.
After my son, Matthew died, I was so bitter.
And so determined to direct the aim of my wrath at God.
I walked away from the church and for roughly the next 10-years, I have lived life on my own without God, religion, or any other of those nuisances in my life. It was weird for me as a blogger. I wasn’t active or faithful enough for the Mormon crowd, but I wasn’t enough of a hater for the Anti-Mormon crowd. I have tried my very best to stay respectful of the religion I was raised in. I have spoken out on my STRONG opinions about support for Gay marriage. (Gay is not just OK, it is FABULOUS!) and frankly…I was not going to go any other direction but away from Mormonism.
Those 10-years had a whoooole lot of dark hell in them.
I made some absolutely horrifying decisions and mistakes.
I caused intense and hugely painful suffering for others.
My grief about these mistakes and the damage I caused is palpable to me.
I can never say I am sorry enough.
Somewhere along the way, I started to change.
It was VERY, VERY, SLOW.
But it was there.
And my husband felt the very same thing. We are rarely in synch about things, we are so different, but on this we moved as one. Shortly after we moved into our new house, we both began to realize that we wanted more in our lives.
The decision was made to return to activity in the Mormon church.
There was much apprehension, worry and fear in my heart.
And with good reason.
Mormons take religion very seriously. Personal accountability is critical and when you have made a higher commitment to both God and church to conduct your life at a higher level, there is nothing of greater importance than keeping that promise.
I had made those commitments and promises.
And I not only broke them, but I worked long and hard with massive amount of effort on my part to execute those mistakes.
And it had to be accounted for and made as right as possible before I could progress as a human being with a soul.
In the LDS religion, there is a process with sin of great consequence. We do not believe in weekly confession or having to account for every little mistake to someone. But if you have a serious sin, you are instructed to go to your Bishop (Which is like a minister or a pastor) and work through those problems with counsel and prayer and work on your part.
For the most serious sin, there is a process that is much more serious. A council of a few men of high authority are called in to review what has occurred and what should be done to best help the person in question grow and achieve happiness and recovery.
I realize that there are many who have a problem with this. I also realize that many feel that sin is personal between you and God. I ALSO am very, very aware that these counsels are run by men and that many, (many who have shared their personal experiences with me) have been utterly shattered by the outcomes of these councils. Please know that I am not writing this to cause pain to anyone, but to relate my own experience.
Knowing that this council was absolutely in my future scared the ever loving crap out of me.
My bishop and his two councilors are three of the kindest, gentlest, loving men I have ever met. I do not trust men easily. I especially do not trust men in religious authority easily. But these men I would trust with my life.
I knew I could trust them with my heart and soul.
And after many, many months and much prayer and searching and reaching peace, happiness, and the point where the one and only thing stopping me from being free of it was this, I went in to talk about the many, many awful things I had done out of pain, fear, desperation and simply not having the spiritual understanding that I do now.
I met with my bishop several times before deciding I was ready to take it on.
My therapist, who has also served as a Bishop and who understood both me, councils and the huge and absolute role my severe ADHD played in many of my issues, insisted on being present.
I am not a prayer person by nature. It isn’t out of being obstinate, it simply doesn’t occur to me naturally. I never, EVER relied on it. And while we always say blessings on our meals (even when I left the church), I very rarely ever sought God or answers from prayer.
But to prepare for this process, I would need all my prayers because I was almost sick with fear initially.
The funny thing is, when the time came, I wasn’t afraid.
I felt strong.
I felt confident.
I felt sure I could handle whatever what would come my way.
I was totally and completely, WRONG.
The council went very well. I felt that I was able to articulate exactly where I was, what was going on, and my level of understanding. Once I was done, the Bishopric was left to pray earnestly about what God felt would be the best path for me to grow and learn and ultimately be the best person I could be.
There is NOTHING these men take more seriously than this question.
I knew they were in there in utter earnestness and pure loving hearts wanting the best for me.
There are four possible outcomes from a Bishops Council: No action, formal probation, disfellowshipment, and excommunication.
The latter two scared the everloving daylight out of me.
I had prayed and prayed and begged and pleaded. What I had done was horrible, BUT the extenuating circumstances, my situation, my level of understanding, my extremely poor impulse control that is utterly not my fault nor known to anyone at the time, the years that had passed since my mistakes, and the most IMPORTANT thing in these coucils…where I was at NOW…all gave me the prayerful reassurance that formal probation would be the outcome.
I was still very afraid but the answer came again and again to Trust in God.
So, I did.
When I came back in the Bishop’s office, the outcome was revealed.
HOLY OUCH, BATMAN.’
I felt like an electrically charged blowtorch ripped through my soul.
I tried my very hardest to take it as well as I could.
And I did.
Till I got in my car.
And then all hell broke loose.
Actually, I was looking UP to see hell.
It was bad.
It was horrible.
I drove and drove and drove. I struggled all night long. There were so many things I was struggling with…it seemed horribly cruel given where I was at and the entire picture. But the two most important things that came out of it were that I could not trust my ability to pray and receive answers. How could I when every answer I had gotten had spoken that Disfellowshipment would not happen???? I could not handle this coming from my creator…He who was supposed to know everything about me. He KNEW how I would take this. What it would do to me. How utterly lost, broken, alone and incapable I would be to fix it.
In a blink of an eye, all that extremely long and hard fought for peace and happiness and the foundation that I had FINALLY felt for once in my life had been taken from me and I was hysterical because of it. If you have spent 38-years living without true peace, happiness and a firm foundation and then you finally get it and THEN IT GOES AWAY, you will know how utterly black my world was.
Except for the death of my son I have never felt greater despair.
I will admit that things got to the suicidal point.
If I had no peace, no happiness, and if I no longer trusted prayer or God or myself, then seriously…what freaking point was there?
I didn’t go home.
I spent the next three days living in my car.
I told my husband to find a better wife. Someone who didn’t suck as a person.
I told my Bishop that it was too big for me and that I was done.
I told my therapist I was ceasing treatment.
And I told myself that there was no hope.
After many days, endless tears and an extremely needed personal witness on my behalf from my bishop, I decided to give it one last chance.
I absolutely could not pray. I couldn’t go to my family or friends or religious leaders because it was too painful.
So, I went somewhere meaningful for church members and I said the smallest of words.
“I’m here. I am trying the only way I know how to reach you.”
First I became aware of something critically important.
I knew without a shadow of a doubt that there was literally a great and FIERCE battle going on for ME.
For my literal soul.
I could literally see it- a war between good and evil. demon and angel.The battalions trying to gain ground and dominion over my person were numerous and mighty and it was a ferocious fight that felt as desperate as a man’s fight to the death.
And then, as clear as a light in the sky, the strongest, most intense and powerful feeling I have EVER experienced in my life hit me so hard I literally couldn’t breathe. Tears literally poured out of my eyes and it was such a physical force that I thought I would literally be crushed to pieces by its might.
Like I said in the very beginning, this is sacred to me.
This feeling was greater that any other in my life. Not even during the death of my son, when I KNEW there were angels supporting me, was the feeling as powerful as this. Not even close.
Everything suddenly became utterly crystal clear to me. (And if you have spent five minutes with me or reading my blog, you will know that ‘crystal clear’ and ‘Loralee’ and about as congruent and plausible as oil and water.)
I knew why every single horrible thing had ever happened in my life.
I knew exactly why I was given the path and the trials and the blessing that I have had.
I always thought that it was to make me grow as a person. Yes, there IS that. Because of my huge struggles, I have an extraordinary amount of love and compassion and acceptance of my fellow man. But…the fundamental purpose was to not just teach me compassion. The key here is EMPATHY. I have literally been hugely touched by every single sin I can think of. Not only do I have experience but I UNDERSTAND WHAT DRIVES IT. I know that this principle is key in my life and my purpose.
I had to be brought extremely low because I am being prepared to soar extremely high.
It is so unfathomable to me still to know that I KNOW this (Because I literally struggle to say prayer over dinner. To imagine something like this could happen to me is mind blowing and would have been utterly unthinkable to me if I had not just experienced it) but I do.
I know I am being prepared for something crucially, extremely important. I have no idea what that would be, but I am absolutely certain that it will require a huge ability to genuinely love, serve, have compassion, empathy and understanding to help the struggling, the suffering, the broken hearted and the afflicted.
Every single thing that has happened has been part of a large, and absolutely perfect plan.
But that was not even the most important thing that I learned without a shadow of a doubt.
I have always seen myself as broken.
As much as I have compassion for mankind, I have had literally NONE for myself.
I spent every waking moment berating myself endlessly for everything.
I really cannot think of another person who so thoroughly despised themselves as much as I dd. I would LITERALLY roll my eyes every time I would hear people talk about the worth of souls, how God loves his creations, how we are children of our father in heaven and how every soul is of great worth to him.
Sure, I believed it for everyone else.
And this is simply, utterly, absolutely not true.
For just one tiny moment I was allowed to see myself as God sees me.
I am MIGHTY.
I am STRONG.
I am BREATHTAKING.
I am HIS.
HIS most loved, cherished, DAUGHTER.
And he has sent me here as one of his fiercest, most fearless lions to lift my head high and to roar his will and his work and his glory to all that I can.
This was so far out of anything I even thought to think of myself, but it is the truth as I am typing this.
I was shackled on this earth with a physical body full of sin and failure and pain and utter dispair and heartbreak to LEARN. To learn of HIM and his will and the intense joy that He wish for all of his creations from the smallest flower to the largest mammal. Every single thing on this earth he loves and is shepherd over. And man and our eternal salvation is his greatest wish and work.
My spirit is beyond anything I could have imagined and it has forever changed absolutely everything I ever knew or thought.
If I had had anything else come from that council I could have never, EVER, experienced the unbelievable love and glory that poured down on me.
I had to have absolutely ALL taken from me to KNOW WITHOUT DOUBT THAT I CAN OVERCOME.
All I have to do is trust in God and bow to his will and I will never fall again.
I have no doubt I will struggle.
It was made very clear to me that my path will be bitterly difficult and that it is for a reason.
I am a spirit meant to learn to swim in very deep, dark waters. (Better that then swimming in shallow waters, no?)
I am no longer afraid.
Does this mean I am going to be different?
Well, yes. I suppose so. I will still be me, but better.
Does this mean this blog and my conversations are going to tturn all religious freak on you?
I know that many of you STRONGLY disagree with my religion. I get it. I have heard it. Some of my very loved and cherished bloggity friends have told me to my face that Mormonism is a cult. (I love you regardless). For me, this is my fit. My best chance for excellence. I know it so firmly there is simply no need to look elsewhere. This may not work for you and as far as I am concerned, it is fine.
God loves us all.
All that-the bickering, the theology, the ‘who is right and who is wrong’ thing…simply doesn’t matter right now.
I respect the beliefs of ALL. Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Aethiest, whatever. I am a FIRM believer in finding whatever path leads you to something higher.
Because there is MORE.
There is infinite and endless love.
We just have to lift our heads and reach for it.
And I hope sincerely and endlessly that you do.
These words, feeling, and experiences have been forged by a lifetime of walking through gut wrenching pain, pride, stubbornness, mocking, suffering, sorrow, sin, brokenness, humanity and the fires of heavan and hell.
I hope you will respect that.
But more than that, I truly hope that each man, woman, and child on this earth could have even on tiny moment of what I experienced.
Because it changed absolutely everything.
REFINER’S FIRE: THE FULL STORY
Dear loved ones,
If you are one of the VERY select few to receive this letter, then you should know with CERTAINTY that you are deeply loved and cherished by me. All of you (save one) has read my blog post “Refiner’s Fire” (I will include it after this letter so that it is maintained together). It is a story of bitterly fought for faith, given to someone so undeserving and unqualified. (Sort of.)
This is the full story.
I opened the door to my Expedition, which was parked rather haphazardly in the church parking lot, climbed in, and just sat there, staring blankly at the dashboard. And then it hit me with a full and terrible weight.
I had just been disfellowshipped from the LDS church.
It was terrible, horrible moment.
In hindsight, after taking FULL stock and accounting of my ENTIRE life since age of accountability, I realized that it was a GREAT mercy that I had not been excommunicated.
My life was absolutely full of huge, wide, grievous sin.
But while I know that NOW, at the time I was utterly heartbroken and terribly confused.
Because it totally shattered everything I thought I knew. Every earnest prayer, inquiry and question to the Lord told me not to fear disfellowshippment or worse, and that formal probabtion would be the outcome.
So, how could this be?
Both could not be right.
And color me strange, but I think I would trust the answer of The Judge of Isreal vs. The Adulterous Whore, ya know?
I was in despair. I felt that I had been talking to myself all these months and any peace, happiness, and foundation that I had fought so hard and long to feel was a total and utter lie.
You cannot imagine how alone and done I was.
I drove and drove and drove.
I didn’t go home. I didn’t go home for DAYS. I didn’t sleep. I barely ate.
AND…I was unmedicated, which was highly dangerous given the situation.
I couldn’t talk to ANYONE. The best I could do is vomit up my emotions vaguely on Facebook. (Because there was NO WAY I was EVER going to talk about what was happening with the masses.) (I know. ;) )
I texted my Bishop and told him I was done. It was too big to chew.
I told Jonathan to leave me and find someone that didn’t suck at a fundamental level.
I told my therapist there was no point to continue seeing him.
I worried everyone to death.
And with good reason.
I was full on suicidal by the next day. I felt abandoned, betrayed and utterly alone. If I couldn’t trust God or even myself and if peace and happiness were not possible for me, then there is no flipping WAY I saw staying on the planet for the next couple decades.
My Bishop sent me a POWERFUL message about the intense and sacred revelation he had on my behalf.
That gave me the tiniest hope.
Then while I was driving (Jonathan is going to KILL ME when he realizes how much I have spent on gas) I heard a song on the radio. There was a line that made me lift my head for the tiniest moment and reach out to obedience.
“When you’re lost and alone, and you’re sinking like a stone, CARRY ON.”
I called my mom and told her that the Bishop had instructed me (Oddly) to start wearing garments again. This surprised both of us, but I figured that while there was NO way I could pray, I COULD do this one thing that he instructed.
I believe that one moment of strength led me to hear the prompting I got next. I had decided to drive down to temple square to think. But that was not where I was supposed to be. I was supposed to go to The Joseph Smith Memorial Building.
So, I did.
On the way down, I called my sister and asked if she wanted to have dinner. She had been deathly worried about me (as had my entire family) and she poured out her feelings of disgust and anger at the men who had disfellowshipped me. She said they were NOT of God, that they were wrong and that they were pompous, arrogant and she was furious that they had hurt me. I defended my Bishopric. I was hurting MIGHTILY but there was no way I could let that description of them stand. It was not THEM, I was not in the least bit angry or hurt by THEM. I KNEW powerfully that they had all the love and care for me in the world. My sorrow was that my creator, who knew me better than anyone, would put such a painful and confusing choice at my feet. So, while I defended them as people and shephards, I DID say that I had NO idea why the decision had come down. I could not disagree with her that a mistake might have been made. Because that is what it truly felt like. Yes, what I had done was truly horrifying, BUT…I KNEW what my understanding (which was extremely limited) was then and where it was NOW AND there were literally so many extenuating circumstances. I could not figure out to what end disfellowshippment would serve other than to create something I could not come back from.
So, there I sat in the Joseph Smith building feeling just awful.
I went and sat and then decided to go watch the movie on Joseph Smith. I have always been a fan of the Prophet. His life is truly inspiring. BUT…I have always been very uncomfortable with The First Vision. I don’t know why, but I just have. In fact, after Matthew died Jonathan and I traveled to New York to stay with close friends. We decided to go see Palmyra. I was really excited. It was November and since Matthew died in September, I had been on an intense spiritual high. What better place to feel inspiration than Palmyra?
It. Was. Awful.
It was one of the creepiest, darkest, and most disturbing experiences of my life. I did not feel peace. I felt utterly weirded out. Especially when the missionary couple was describing the first vision. All I could think is that Mormons were utterly freakish and I could not WAIT to leave that place. All the peace, support and love I felt from the angels supporting me through Matthew’s death vanished in a moment.
I was really bitter.
It was my first step to a decade away from Mormonism.
So, it was entirely fitting that what brought me roaring back was facilitated by this same story.
I sat in the theater and looked up at the screen and while I couldn’t even consider praying, I did mentally utter some very small words. “I’m here. I’m trying the only way I have left to reach you. This is your one and ONLY chance. Please help me, Father.”
Then the movie started.
I sat watching farmland roll by and the kid actor do the usual stuff that is told at the beginning of Joseph’s life. No biggie.
Then he went into the grove to pray. I instinctively braced (you know, due to the uncomfortableness) and looked down at the floor. But something made me lift my head.
When Joseph is taken over by darkness, the weirdest thing happened.
I literally sat up and looked around me and my mind sputtered, “There’s…there’s a BATTLE!” I came to understand that there was a FIERCE, intense, massive battle of the strongest battalions on both sides of Good and Evil that were literally fighting as if to the death for the possession of my soul. Now, by itself, this is not singular, really. Battles are fought for struggling souls all the time. THIS WAS DIFFERENT. It was not just a battle, it was a full on nuclear war for something of the GREATEST importance.
To describe it in very inadequate earth terms…it was like the British were THIS CLOSE to killing George Washington. Only killing would not have been enough. They wanted to capture, endlessly torture and the parade their captive soul as an example of God’s weakness and their strength. I always thought Satan knew that he couldn’t win ultimately. That is not so. The dude actually thinks he stands a chance. He’s wrong.
It was not a great feeling.
Then I looked up at the screen and the light of God started to appear. And RIGHT with it came the single most INTENSE and POWERFUL feeling I have EVER had in my life. I thought the death of my son was powerful (and it was) but this was beyond anything I could imagine. In honesty, it DID NOT FEEL GOOD. I thought it was going to crush me and my stomach was going to explode. I couldn’t breathe and I was POURING tears and snot down my face. (Attractive, I know.)
As the movie progressed, it was like it was reaching out of the screen and powerfully testifying to the purpose of my life. Alvin was not lost. He would always be his father’s son. His father would ALWAYS have him. Brigham Young was being prepared for greatness and the Lord had given him the tools he needed. Joseph Smith was a spirit meant to swim in deep water….It went on and on and on, each important bit of important information that was meant for me to hear and understand was testified by feelings of greatest physical intensity.
I was almost exhausted at the end of the movie and I looked like I had been hit by a train.
But I knew that what had happened was supposed to. It was the beginning of a MASSIVE amount of understanding.
After I left, I went to go to dinner with my amazing sister and her partner Nancy. You have to understand something about me.
I HAVE BEEN A FREAKING WUSSY COWARD MY ENTIRE LIFE.
I have a horrible, awful time standing up for myself.
I feel an almost genetic need to apologize for myself constantly and I WHIPPED myself perpetually.
I truly, truly, truly loathed every single thing about myself.
So, when my sister again started protesting the church system and the decision (ALL done out of the PUREST love and concern for her little sister and derived from much pain and rejection felt because of her homosexuality) I found the power to gently, but FIRMLY disagree and testified that it was right, just, and utterly necessary. And that the Mormon path was the absolutely right one, with not a single doubt in my mind. The right thing had happened and I was sure of it.
And she accepted it, as long as I promised to never let men or women of the church ever let me feel inferior or judged. She was right when she said that I played to the audience I was in front of, so weak and fragile and all over the place was I.
To stand up for myself was truly unusual. But it wasn’t hard at all.
After I left, I kept driving and for the next 24-hours, I was hit again and again and again with a HUGE amount of revelation, understanding and vision.
Every Mormon has moments where they wonder what they were like in the pre-existence and what they will be like after they die.
I had ALWAYS seen myself a certain way. I felt like a gentle, humorous and rather fluffy soul that probably sang through the heavens and was pretty, ya know…average. I thought for certain I came here to learn obedience and to learn to be strong and not have fear and to learn the faith and confidence I lacked before coming to earth.
I was so, so, SO wrong.
I was given extreme insight of EXACTLY who I was in my natural state.
And it surprised the ever living heck out of me.
I was FIERCE. I was intensely obedient, unwavering, and just….a massive, massive warrior spirit. I got a glimpse of someone that I KNEW was me before I came here. I was frozen, crouched down low, almost like a hunter intensely examining his prey or a sprinter right before the gun goes off. I got the impression of MASSIVE skill, INTENSE, RIGHTOUS, BURNING focus centered on the earth. God had to literally restrain me from bursting down to the earth to do his work before my time was right.
And when I was finally released I ROARED down to earth in a comet of burning flame that I literally saw streak through the face of the earth until all nations were on fire.
I was sent down to be one of the highest, most honored and select LIONS OF THE LORD.
There are few in all the heavens that I bow down to.
Now…if you know me AT ALL, you will know that not only is this NEVER something I would ever, ever, EVER think, let alone SAY to anyone about myself, but that this vision of myself is something that I really don’t even want or relate to in my earthly form. I have never been one to even want to be strong or a warrior.
Shocked the heck out of me.
And there was SO, SO much more.
I had answers to really any question I wanted about my life.
I learned an unfathomable amount about myself and my mission here.
I know that Satan was DELIBERATELY allowed to have HUGE LICENCE in my life. I was absolutely meant to fail and sin in huge, embarrassing ways. I was one of a VERY small and select few that are meant to walk down the most perilous paths DELIBERATELY only because I am one of a very few who would not fall and be utterly lost.
Basically, I was MEANT to be a sinful piece of crap.
You would think that would be depressing, but it brought me the most infinite relief. For my ENTIRE life, I have felt utterly and hugely conflicted and confused by…ME.
I was shown that before I agreed to this mission, I was given the highest assurance that I would be as protected as possible and that I WOULD TRIUMPH, because quite frankly, the amount of sin that I would have to wade through was so offensive to my person that God had to personally promise me that he knew my worth, how abhorrent all that I would go through would be to me, and that as SOON as I was done with my work, I would be released from this hideous and shackled existence and allowed to return back to him to serve in glory.
It shocked me to realize that next to doing His will, that was my GREATEST desire and my single most difficult temptation to battle.
Not to take my life and return home before I am done here.
That may sound shocking but it is perfectly understandable to me because I was shown how hugely, massively difficult and HARD it is for me to be here. I was put in a body that has been grossly obese, riddled with injury, disease and permanently disfigured and malfunctioning to learn compassion and empathy, It was MEANT to suffer GREAT pain and affliction so that I could learn BUT that it would also be strong enough to do the work I was meant to. To have such physical weakness is a great, constant frustration to my spirit, (My physical body doesn’t mind so much as there is a lot of lounging around munching on Oreos). ;)
It is not just my physical body that my spirit struggles with, but my entire nature. It was a deliberate restraint. I did NOT need to come here to become stronger and more faithful, I came here to be GENTLED and to learn humor and just to chill the heck out already. (I think I have the humor part down. Chilling out may take more work.)
Every. Single. Thing. About my body, person and life is so absolutely contrary to my natural state it is almost unbearable just knowing what I know. I was shown that my spirit is so fierce and big and bright that my physical body LITERALLY has intense difficulty containing it.
My death will be my greatest relief and joy. (Seriously…I am NOT suicidal, I swear. It’s just the truth.)
I also saw that while I was meant to be a roaring Lion for His will, I was also meant to fiercely protect. And I had come within a whisker of failing at one of my most critical tasks.
I was sworn to protect my twin sister. She is NOT a fierce spirit. She is gentle and kind and pure and was very hesitant about coming to this place. God gave her the physical and mental challenges he kept me free of for the express purpose of protecting her from the utter hell I had to walk through. While he protected her on high, I was sworn to guard over her on earth.
I have dropped the ball so many times with that it sorrows me greatly. But, I was also shown that I protected her from the things that matter most and that I have not failed in my task.
While she was meant to be as protected as possible, I was meant to be flung straight into the fires of hell.
Everything about myself is of importance.
I was supposed to be born now. I was supposed to be raised in an LDS home, but (And this is HUGELY important) my spiritual knowledge was greatly, and deliberately muted and yoked. If I had had even a drop more understanding or desire to know more, I could not have done the horrible things needed. It would have made me puke. But the knowledge was ESSENTIAL for when all would be revealed to me.
Even the way I look-my height, my hair, my voice, my talents, my personality are all MEANT TO BE NOTICED. I CANNOT HIDE, EVEN IF I WISH IT. I was meant to be looked at and not only that but I was meant to SCREAM MY WEAKNESS AND FAILURE TO THE WORLD.
People had to see and know the most intimate failures, sins, weaknesses and faithlessness that had run rampant over my soul and body.
Just as he made Joseph Smith a man whose experience, education and situation testified that he could have NEVER created the book of Mormon or the religious structure he presented, and just as Paul was allowed to do horrible, terrible and infamous things, I was allowed to sin horrible, fail miserable and trump those failures to the world.
It was deliberately done to show his utter power, mercy and glory of transformation.
If I had been remotely faithful or had any experience with prayer, revelation or even a tiny bit more knowledge, the loud roar that I was meant to bring forth would have been an impotent mew that no one would pay heed to.
Because it NEEDED to be absolute and certain that the utter transformation that occurred and the things I have been shown could not only have NEVER come from someone as spiritually retarded (in the pure way, not mocking disabled people way) as I am.
Not only could it NOT come to me, but it had to be something that was FOREIGN to my way of existence and thinking and people like YOU were meant to testify that not only am I truthful but that these are things and words that I would NEVER EVEN DREAM OF THINKING OF IF LEFT TO MY OWN DEVICES.
(Seriously…think about me. How much I hated myself. Do you REALLY think that I would walk around saying that I knew those that mocked me, hurt me and sat in judgment of me were the same spirits that bowed down in deference to me in the pre-existance? Or do you see ME desiring to be some Xena-warrior-princess-meets-lion-dinosaur-Patton-General-Fierce-type???????? NO.)
I was shown much, much more. But you get enough of the idea, and some of it is only meant to be shared with my husband and my Bishop, who I was promised would be able to discern if I was bat shit insane or not. (I’m not. Whew.)
I do not know all that my future life holds for me. I am certain that much of it will be difficult. But…it will be a DIFFERENT kind of difficult. I am sure I will continue to sin (hello…human) but now that I KNOW who I am, I have an insane amount more courage, fortitude and UTTER self respect. That is a biggie. One of the most disgusting and horrifying things to me before coming down here is how little self-respect and how much hatred I had for myself. How difficult it was to see how I would grovel and apologize and beg forgiveness from everyone I met JUST FOR EXISTING.
This is PAINFUL. Because I am not only someone who commands respect, I DEMAND IT UTTERLY. In fact, one of the MOST surprising (and kinda disappointing) things is HOW God showed me is love.
See, I had a VERY strong idea of how I pictured God’s feeling for me. I always pictured a broken and hurting child being scooped up gently into his arms. It was a great comfort to me during many hurtful nights. But that is NOT how he sees me. I did not get the mushy, fuzzy, fatherly manifestation of his love I so desired and craved. HE DOES love me. Fiercely and endlessly. BUT…what I felt was so surprising I about fell over. He highly, utterly, and completely….RESPECTS ME. It was almost like the regard you have for your most valued business partner that you not only trust with your finances, future and security but you would trust them with your life.
In all my wildest imagining, God respecting ANYONE is utterly….shocking.
And SO NOT SOMETHING THAT WOULD EVER OCCUR TO THE SINNER THAT IS ME.
But again…I sinned for a reason. I had to learn not just compassion and sympathy but UTTER empathy for the weak, the afflicted, the liars, the fakers, the thieves, the sick, the wounded, the abused, the perpetrators, the poor, the confused, the wounded and broken by love, the addicts, the mentally disabled, the physically challenged, the sick, the materialistic, the adulterers, the desperate, the broken and the lost. Basically anything you can put “THE” in front of, I GET IT.
The VAST amount of first hand experience I have been given is to serve a HUGE and critically important task.
My task is to be a visual example of the wretched made strong in the blink of an eye and ONLY by his will. Along with being tasked with wretchedly sucking a duck on earth, I was ALSO blessed with HUGE, enormous talents and gifts. Now…many of these are yolked and stopped on purpose. But they are necessary because I am being prepared for something that will not only require understanding of the most grievously injured of the earth BUT I ALSO MUST BE ABLE TO COMMAND THE RESPECT OF THE RIGHTOUS AND GOOD. I was given enough beauty, talent and even economic status to FULLY matriculate into the ranks of the MOST HIGH human leadership when it is needed. My strengths need to be mighty enough so that those who have not fallen off the path of the righteous can respect, follow me, and not just accept my leadership even with my hugely sinful past, but REJOICE AND GLORY IN MY TRIUMPH.
I was meant to inspire others to greatness. (Which literally has me blushing purple in embarrassment to type. But I MUST state this.)
And it is my duty to roar it to the world.
I want to close with something else that is critical for YOU to know.
You are of the utterly select. My path is sacred, important and of insane importance. (I realize that I am going seriously crazy with the adjectives, but truly…humans do not have words enough for how important and serious this is. My apologies.) I do not want you to think that your only task in this world is to cheer me on (OH THE POMPOUS SOUNDINGNESS OF THIS IS LITERALLY HURTFUL TO ME) But…you were CAREFULLY and prayerfully chosen expressly for guarding and watching over me during the most dangerous times of my life.
You have NO idea how special and choice this makes you.
My Bishop was chosen partially and specifically to guide me spiritually to this moment. You don’t know what a spiritual giant this required. To be JUST of the right age, temperament and ability to be gentle enough, kind enough, forceful enough, prayerful enough and steadfastly enough to not only guide me to the point that I trusted him enough to unload my soul to him but to also hold fast to the decision of disfellowshipment. The weight of casting that much hurt on someone as unstable as I am DEMANDS someone of the highest quality and worth. There are not enough words for how much I respect and value his place in my life.
My family was selected to be my most valiant protectors and supporters.
My parents were choice and chosen.
And my friends are the most loyal, kind, and understanding spirits God could muster to encircle me in faith, confidence and understanding.
That is you.
You are amazing.
As hard as it was to come up with adjectives to describle ME, I cannot, utterly cannot come up with even a few to describe how brilliantly beautiful and how much worth and value you are to me.
Thank you for never giving up on me.
And thank you for making it all the way through this. ;)