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Vellichor

Confused by revelation

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Hi all, I'm a new member of this group. I wonder if any of you might have some thoughts about a situation I have grappled with for many years.

 
What does one do when their strongest experiences with revelation lead to ... nothing? 
 
My strongest spiritual experiences have to do with assurances about my future family. When I was 17 I received my patriarchal blessing. It had a lot to say about my family---about how I would be led to my husband, how I would have children who would be leaders, etc. But now it's more than 30 years later, and I have no family. 
 
Some years later, my bishop gave me a blessing about an unrelated situation, and in the blessing he told me someone was searching for me. That was 20 years ago. Later, after a painful breakup, I was told in a powerful priesthood blessing that I was being prepared for my future marriage. That was 13 years ago. I've had personal promptings and assurances, but always, always, they are about a future that never materializes. When does the future turn into the present? How do I trust a God who's always holding out a carrot, but never giving it?
 
I can't imagine how this is supposed to help me. I know I could get married at age 70, and God could then say, "See, I always keep my promises." But I haven't yearned for a wedding--I want a daily life with family, the kind of life we are constantly talking about in church. Not a wedding and a few married years at the end of my life.
 
Lest anyone suggest that perhaps I haven't done my part--I have. i have dated a lot through the years, although my opportunities are dwindling as the years go on. Most of the men I have dated have been decent people. A number of them have been interested in me. But generally it has been clear that we are not compatible for significant reasons: very different values, lack of common ground, poor work ethic, etc. I know as much as I know anything that I have made sound decisions about the men I have dated.
 
I have come to the conclusion that perhaps these experiences--priesthood blessings as well as personal promptings--simply came from others' imaginations as well as my own. But then it makes me question the role of revelation altogether. If my strongest experiences with revelation have turned out to be groundless, how do I trust other, quieter experiences with revelation on different matters? 
 
Does anyone relate to this? Any thoughts that might shed light on this situation?

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54 minutes ago, Vellichor said:

Hi all, I'm a new member of this group. I wonder if any of you might have some thoughts about a situation I have grappled with for many years.

 
What does one do when their strongest experiences with revelation lead to ... nothing? 
 
My strongest spiritual experiences have to do with assurances about my future family. When I was 17 I received my patriarchal blessing. It had a lot to say about my family---about how I would be led to my husband, how I would have children who would be leaders, etc. But now it's more than 30 years later, and I have no family. 
 
Some years later, my bishop gave me a blessing about an unrelated situation, and in the blessing he told me someone was searching for me. That was 20 years ago. Later, after a painful breakup, I was told in a powerful priesthood blessing that I was being prepared for my future marriage. That was 13 years ago. I've had personal promptings and assurances, but always, always, they are about a future that never materializes. When does the future turn into the present? How do I trust a God who's always holding out a carrot, but never giving it?
 
I can't imagine how this is supposed to help me. I know I could get married at age 70, and God could then say, "See, I always keep my promises." But I haven't yearned for a wedding--I want a daily life with family, the kind of life we are constantly talking about in church. Not a wedding and a few married years at the end of my life.
 
Lest anyone suggest that perhaps I haven't done my part--I have. i have dated a lot through the years, although my opportunities are dwindling as the years go on. Most of the men I have dated have been decent people. A number of them have been interested in me. But generally it has been clear that we are not compatible for significant reasons: very different values, lack of common ground, poor work ethic, etc. I know as much as I know anything that I have made sound decisions about the men I have dated.
 
I have come to the conclusion that perhaps these experiences--priesthood blessings as well as personal promptings--simply came from others' imaginations as well as my own. But then it makes me question the role of revelation altogether. If my strongest experiences with revelation have turned out to be groundless, how do I trust other, quieter experiences with revelation on different matters? 
 
Does anyone relate to this? Any thoughts that might shed light on this situation?

welcome to my life! I could have easily written this- One of the posters on here, Bluebell, wrote me an email some years ago about PB and I hold to what they said. I had revelation and was told by others about dating/marriage and it blew up in my face and now I have no idea what to make about my PB either

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1 hour ago, Vellichor said:

......................

My strongest spiritual experiences have to do with assurances about my future family. When I was 17 I received my patriarchal blessing. It had a lot to say about my family---about how I would be led to my husband, how I would have children who would be leaders, etc. But now it's more than 30 years later, and I have no family. ..............................

Maybe the guy you were supposed to hook up with couldn't get his act together.  Not your fault.

On the other hand, have you tried online dating -- say match.com or the like?  See https://www.datingadvice.com/online-dating/lds-dating-sites .

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42 minutes ago, Robert F. Smith said:

Maybe the guy you were supposed to hook up with couldn't get his act together.  Not your fault.

On the other hand, have you tried online dating -- say match.com or the like?  See https://www.datingadvice.com/online-dating/lds-dating-sites .

I have heard other people offer that explanation--but it doesn't make sense to me. Wouldn't God have known what the guy would do? Is God getting surprised by people's actions all the time? 

And yes, I have tried online dating on and off for years. It's my only real option at the moment, but it's not promising.

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1 hour ago, Duncan said:

welcome to my life! I could have easily written this- One of the posters on here, Bluebell, wrote me an email some years ago about PB and I hold to what they said. I had revelation and was told by others about dating/marriage and it blew up in my face and now I have no idea what to make about my PB either

Duncan, it's good to know I'm not the only one.

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1 hour ago, Vellichor said:

I have heard other people offer that explanation--but it doesn't make sense to me. Wouldn't God have known what the guy would do? Is God getting surprised by people's actions all the time? ................................................

God is not a control freak.  He respects free agency.  Satan was one of his early sons, and yet betrayed him.  A third of the host of heaven followed Satan.  That was a great debacle, and God weeps.  Real life can be brutal.  No question about it.

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I am so very sorry for the loss of the life you wanted and expected.  Figuring out how to live covenantly in the world you have instead of the one you hoped for is a challenge for most of us.    If I were in your currently place, I'd reach out to places where I might find a mate, and be active at searching out good people..  But I would also make my own family.   I'd foster or adopt (maybe older kids).  I'd get one or more like-minded roommates.   I'd find some elderly people nearby who I could serve and who might enrich my life.  

As for the revelation,/patriarchal blessing, you may find out some day how it was supposed to play out.   But for now,  actively make the life you want (with or without a marriage partner).  (I married late, long after I'd given up any hope of marriage.)

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If you figure it out let me know except I have much less in revelation to give me hope it will get better for me.

Edited by The Nehor

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8 hours ago, rpn said:

I'd foster or adopt (maybe older kids).

Last time I checked adoption by single parents was still discouraged in the Church, but that might have changed as it has been years.  Not saying that should preempt that choice, but it might create difficulties.

Not finding anything specific at lds.org, but it always refers to couples as the potential adoptive parents.

Edited by Calm

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Folks, I appreciate the thoughts, but I'm not looking for advice on how to find a potential mate, become a parent, or have a more meaningful life. (Incidentally, the Church discourages singles from getting pregnant out of wedlock; not from adopting out of foster care. But I digress.)  Maybe I didn't phrase it clearly enough, but the core of my question has to do with how to regard spiritual revelation. It's a testimony issue. I'd like to know what people do when spiritual promptings and messages from various sources (patriarchal blessings, other priesthood blessings, personal promptings, etc.) seem to lead nowhere. It makes me question any and all spiritual experiences, and I don't like that. I would like to think I can trust my spiritual experiences and therefore trust God, but how do I do that, given what I have experienced? Am I overlooking something? 

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Ack, I reread my comment and thought maybe it seemed a bit harsh. I really do appreciate your kind suggestions. Just not sure what to do with the spiritual implications of all this.

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4 hours ago, mnn727 said:

Nehor meet Vellichor.

Vellichor meet Nehor.

Vellichor meet Duncan! ;)

Edited by Tacenda

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2 hours ago, Calm said:

Last time I checked adoption by single parents was still discouraged in the Church, but that might have changed as it has been years.  Not saying that should preempt that choice, but it might create difficulties.

Not finding anything specific at lds.org, but it always refers to couples as the potential adoptive parents.

There are thousands of children in the world today without parents.   I hardly think that the Church, certainly not our Savior, would disapprove of adopting children who otherwise won't have one parent, much less two.   (Of course we believe that God planned for married opposite sex parents to raise children.   But we all make lemonade in our lives as needed.  

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1 hour ago, Vellichor said:

Folks, I appreciate the thoughts, but I'm not looking for advice on how to find a potential mate, become a parent, or have a more meaningful life. (Incidentally, the Church discourages singles from getting pregnant out of wedlock; not from adopting out of foster care. But I digress.)  Maybe I didn't phrase it clearly enough, but the core of my question has to do with how to regard spiritual revelation. It's a testimony issue. I'd like to know what people do when spiritual promptings and messages from various sources (patriarchal blessings, other priesthood blessings, personal promptings, etc.) seem to lead nowhere. It makes me question any and all spiritual experiences, and I don't like that. I would like to think I can trust my spiritual experiences and therefore trust God, but how do I do that, given what I have experienced? Am I overlooking something? 

I usually work on getting a second witness in such cases. Fasting, praying, scripture study, and visiting the temple to help me be open to guidance and further insight.

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2 hours ago, Vellichor said:

Folks, I appreciate the thoughts, but I'm not looking for advice on how to find a potential mate, become a parent, or have a more meaningful life. (Incidentally, the Church discourages singles from getting pregnant out of wedlock; not from adopting out of foster care. But I digress.)  Maybe I didn't phrase it clearly enough, but the core of my question has to do with how to regard spiritual revelation. It's a testimony issue. I'd like to know what people do when spiritual promptings and messages from various sources (patriarchal blessings, other priesthood blessings, personal promptings, etc.) seem to lead nowhere. It makes me question any and all spiritual experiences, and I don't like that. I would like to think I can trust my spiritual experiences and therefore trust God, but how do I do that, given what I have experienced? Am I overlooking something? 

Also just wanted to ask: Have you ever gotten a witness of these promises that you've been given by others?  Have you had a witness that they were true that you are now doubting?

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22 hours ago, Duncan said:

welcome to my life! I could have easily written this- One of the posters on here, Bluebell, wrote me an email some years ago about PB and I hold to what they said. I had revelation and was told by others about dating/marriage and it blew up in my face and now I have no idea what to make about my PB either

Oh great, I hope I didn't say anything dumb!

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, Vellichor said:

Folks, I appreciate the thoughts, but I'm not looking for advice on how to find a potential mate, become a parent, or have a more meaningful life. (Incidentally, the Church discourages singles from getting pregnant out of wedlock; not from adopting out of foster care. But I digress.)  Maybe I didn't phrase it clearly enough, but the core of my question has to do with how to regard spiritual revelation. It's a testimony issue. I'd like to know what people do when spiritual promptings and messages from various sources (patriarchal blessings, other priesthood blessings, personal promptings, etc.) seem to lead nowhere. It makes me question any and all spiritual experiences, and I don't like that. I would like to think I can trust my spiritual experiences and therefore trust God, but how do I do that, given what I have experienced? Am I overlooking something? 

Speaking point-blank-honesty hear: I put pretty much no emotional investment in future-casting-type things.  They are just so subject to interpretation, and we mortals want to put things on our time table in our box-- but God doesn't work like that.  So I personally just... I'm just un-invested in future-casting-type things.  It seems like too much work and taking constant God-doesn't-work-in-your-box humble pie stuff.  So those type of things are a "dud" in my book.  

What I AM invested in is personal revelation I get here & now for the (relative) here & now.  I've had to many promptings from the Spirit, light bulb moments, and super-natural comfort to deny that.  Promptings like "hey Jane, you should call Mike because he needs you" and then Mike just got in an accident and needs his friend.  Other times for personal guidance-- like I was once spending the day walking around an unfamiliar downtown city, and I get the prompting "you should take the bus home"-- only to find out I can't take the bus home because they don't take plastic (which made this a totally confusing prompt), but the act of seeking out the bus took me on a different path home and hence I avoided a super dangerous area (something I found out 2 days later).  Other times... well, frankly life can suck and be mind-shattering painful at points, and I've been knocked on my butt hard.  And it wasn't me with my strength that got me standing up after that-- it was God and His power moving me when I hurt too badly to budge myself.   

Edited by Jane_Doe
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25 minutes ago, bluebell said:

Oh great, I hope I didn't say anything dumb!

oh no!!!!! hahahahaha!

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7 hours ago, mnn727 said:

Nehor meet Vellichor.

Vellichor meet Nehor.

Now all my problems are over..........

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9 hours ago, Vellichor said:

Folks, I appreciate the thoughts, but I'm not looking for advice on how to find a potential mate, become a parent, or have a more meaningful life. (Incidentally, the Church discourages singles from getting pregnant out of wedlock; not from adopting out of foster care. But I digress.)  Maybe I didn't phrase it clearly enough, but the core of my question has to do with how to regard spiritual revelation. It's a testimony issue. I'd like to know what people do when spiritual promptings and messages from various sources (patriarchal blessings, other priesthood blessings, personal promptings, etc.) seem to lead nowhere. It makes me question any and all spiritual experiences, and I don't like that. I would like to think I can trust my spiritual experiences and therefore trust God, but how do I do that, given what I have experienced? Am I overlooking something? 

I anticipate you’ve taken this up with God many times over the years.  Would you mind sharing the impressions and thoughts you’ve had as you’ve done so.

I wouldn’t presume to speak for Him in any regard, but believe He knows, and loves, you and will share wisdom when asked to do so as He’s prescribed.

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Sorry I derailed you.

I think it is the quest of a lifetime to figure out how to receive revelation and/or inspiration, and move forward in face of obstacles.   And I think that doubting is pretty commonly part of that quest.   Sometimes it helps to just flat acknowledge that what might have been inspiration at one point, even a promise, just doesn't apply any more even when it did at the point you received that revelation.    Yes, confirmation bias is real (which means that when we hear certain things that fall in line with our own desires, we may hear that).   And confirmation bias, when read as because I've experienced revelation before in this way, this sounds like revelation now, isn't always a bad thing.

I think what we do is do our best to effect the revelatory promise, while accepting that it may not work out like we want, plan, understand it to will.    And we will non the less press forward in saying/seeking "what wilt thou now have me do?"

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17 hours ago, bluebell said:

I usually work on getting a second witness in such cases. Fasting, praying, scripture study, and visiting the temple to help me be open to guidance and further insight.

Yes, I have done this and thought at the time that I received confirmation of these promises.

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17 hours ago, Jane_Doe said:

Speaking point-blank-honesty hear: I put pretty much no emotional investment in future-casting-type things.  They are just so subject to interpretation, and we mortals want to put things on our time table in our box-- but God doesn't work like that.  So I personally just... I'm just un-invested in future-casting-type things.  It seems like too much work and taking constant God-doesn't-work-in-your-box humble pie stuff.  So those type of things are a "dud" in my book.  

What I AM invested in is personal revelation I get here & now for the (relative) here & now.  I've had to many promptings from the Spirit, light bulb moments, and super-natural comfort to deny that.  Promptings like "hey Jane, you should call Mike because he needs you" and then Mike just got in an accident and needs his friend.  Other times for personal guidance-- like I was once spending the day walking around an unfamiliar downtown city, and I get the prompting "you should take the bus home"-- only to find out I can't take the bus home because they don't take plastic (which made this a totally confusing prompt), but the act of seeking out the bus took me on a different path home and hence I avoided a super dangerous area (something I found out 2 days later).  Other times... well, frankly life can suck and be mind-shattering painful at points, and I've been knocked on my butt hard.  And it wasn't me with my strength that got me standing up after that-- it was God and His power moving me when I hurt too badly to budge myself.   

I think that is probably the best approach--although it makes me wonder what the point of patriarchal blessings is. (I've been wondering that anyway.) Also, I'm not one to get a lot of here-and-now promptings; at least, not that I recognize as spiritual promptings. We talk so much about personal revelation in the Church, but it is tough when not all of us have the same gifts.

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2 hours ago, rpn said:

Sorry I derailed you.

I think it is the quest of a lifetime to figure out how to receive revelation and/or inspiration, and move forward in face of obstacles.   And I think that doubting is pretty commonly part of that quest.   Sometimes it helps to just flat acknowledge that what might have been inspiration at one point, even a promise, just doesn't apply any more even when it did at the point you received that revelation.    Yes, confirmation bias is real (which means that when we hear certain things that fall in line with our own desires, we may hear that).   And confirmation bias, when read as because I've experienced revelation before in this way, this sounds like revelation now, isn't always a bad thing.

I think what we do is do our best to effect the revelatory promise, while accepting that it may not work out like we want, plan, understand it to will.    And we will non the less press forward in saying/seeking "what wilt thou now have me do?"

I'm not sure what it means to consider that what was a promise at one point "doesn't apply anymore." Especially when it comes to something as important as a future family.

I agree with you about confirmation bias. But when someone explicitly says to you in a priesthood blessing that you will get married, it will happen in this particular way, your children will turn out like this, etc. etc.--what to do with that? I have come to the conclusion that my patriarch meant well but was influenced by cultural expectations, as was my bishop and my former home teacher. And then I had personal promptings and times when scriptural verses seemed to jump out at me and confirm what I thought had been promised. But--as you said, that was likely just confirmation bias. 

I now hold personal revelation and promises in priesthood blessings very lightly. I still pray and try to step forward in faith, but I have been so wrong in the past that it's difficult to trust I am ever receiving real guidance. 

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