By the time I was 25 I felt like I knew quite a bit about Mormonism and the gospel. I was still single and trying to find my Eve to take to the temple. I seemed to always get the assignment to teach Elders quorum lessons, and I enjoyed it. The Elders seemed to like it because I prepared well most of the time. I took it serious, and I began realizing, most people don’t take it serious.
Church began to be a bore. Lessons were given unprepared and scriptures were rarely being used. Scriptures were quoted out of context to prove a point from the lesson manual, instead of in context with the assistance of revelation. I started to notice how riveted members were to church manuals instead of personal revelation. I had to stop commenting because the revelation I was receiving didn’t match what was being taught in church.
Another subtle change that I noticed was the announcement to stop asking the congregation to pull out there scriptures and read along. After that moment I noticed that the speakers used their scriptures less and less. I guess it might feel embarrassing to open them up and stumble around alone in front of people. Before you could hear pages turning as others followed along. What a sad effect this new policy has had.
When I was younger a sacrament talk was assigned with a topic. Atonement, come unto Christ, and Prayer are some of the topics that I was assigned just after my mission. I noticed that almost all talks were beginning to be assigned from General Conference talks. I hated the new sacrament talks. I already listened to General Conference and I studied them on my own time. I even had every cassette and CD from 1975 up to the most current set. Now I have to listen to them again!? The problem I have is that the scriptures are the word of God, and the spirit and revelation you can receive from studying them is unmatched. I know many of you are saying, “but the prophets are speaking the word of God.” I’ll address that later.
As I approached 30 years old and still lacked an eternal companion I began to feel like an outcast in the church. People treat you like crap if you’re not following the pattern established by our culture. I was getting really depressed. My bishop said some really stupid things to me while I was at rock bottom. Later I forgave him and moved on, but the timing was really crappy on his part. Just before I turned 30 I moved to another part of the state. I attended an Institute fireside. The Stake President told me that I couldn’t go to institute anymore and that I needed to find a ward with older people. It nearly crushed me. I was trying to find new friends and a spouse. The church needs to rethink their policies on single adults.
Here I was, I loved the church and the gospel, yet the church seemed to be pushing me out. I was shocked by the members lack of knowledge about the gospel. I sat in an awkward place. I didn’t fit into any of the church programs. Nobody read the scriptures or studied like I did. Nobody had a passion for the temple like I did. I felt alone in a world of people who loved their culture, but not the gospel. I couldn’t talk about the gospel with anyone because nobody understood it like I did. I’m not special, nor am I someone worth listening to, and trust me I make my fair share of mistakes, but I hoped for someone who cared as much as I did.
This is when I started to see.