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Repentance hurts: Buyer's remorse from quitting church

A viewer left this question on YouTube.


"I feel out of sorts.  Almost hollow. When will the Lord confirm the steps you have taken are according to his will?  What do I do for the sacrament now?  I guess I will seat in the back of the church and leave after?"

Of course you feel out of sorts. Of course you feel hollow. You've spent your entire life focusing some large percentage of your thoughts, feelings, and actions on something that God has now shown you has no worth. How did you expect to feel?

There is a reason sacrifice is so tightly associated with cutting. Do you think it would feel good to have your heart cut out? Or an eye or an arm removed? Why do you think the Lord described obedience to God with these images, and not with puppies and rainbows?

When will the Lord confirm your actions as according to his will? How long? What was the answer for Isaiah or Jeremiah? There is a reason Jesus taught that a king should not go to battle without ensuring he had sufficient forces for a consummate war, and that one should not attempt to build a tower without sufficient resources to finish it.

While you are looking for escape by looking ahead to better feelings, you are not yet committed to God, and until you are, he will not honor your sacrifice.

A better question is: how will he do so? By showing the lack of value in what you have let go of, for one. That won't come as an involuntary feeling, but through your intentional reasoning.

One of the cardinal errors in the LDS religion is the promotion of feeling above all: as the indication of truth, as the indication of what is right, as the indication of the Lord's presence. You're going to need to upgrade to the understanding that:

1. Feeling best long term requires feeling bad short term.

2. Feelings follow actions, not the other way around.

3. Feelings must be subordinated to reason.

Recall the struggle of the Lord with the Father in the garden of Gethsemane. Obedience to God is not about what we do when we feel good, but what we do in spite of feeling bad. What you do when you feel good is not worth much as a sacrifice. 

The existence of bad feelings is an indication that while your actions are shifting toward the Lord, your heart still has a long way to go. Complete your decision by letting go of the expectation that God will change your desires for you. Become willing to pay any price to serve him. Remove the condition of "as long as I feel good all the while."

You aren't going to instantly and magically feel good the moment you begin to do God's will. Especially not when your heart is still very much after things contrary to his will.

As for the sacrament: Do you even know what the sacrament is? Do you not see that you are no different than a modern Jew thrashing about looking for a place to sacrifice animals, not understanding that the act is worse than meaningless without the rest of the law of Moses? If you think that going to church because "it's the only way to take the sacrament" is necessary, fruitful, or pleasing in any way to the Lord, you have no idea what it is and therefore should not be participating. Reread how Limhi's people dealt with the unavailability of baptism in a way that made sense given its meaning.

Stop looking for escape through your old comforts. Start using your brain to worship God in spirit and in truth, doing what you have sufficient reason to and forsaking what you do not.

Offer God the one sacrifice he really cares about: A broken heart and contrite spirit. Offer him the daily sacrifice of doing what he would do in your place in all the supposedly little things each moment of the day. Until you can declare that you are doing this, you remain unworthy of the real sacrament, even if you had access to it, which you don't.