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Are We Ever Good Enough?


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I am a lifetime member of the church, my wife is what I call a "reluctant" convert. She believes many of the teachings, but not all. I went through a long period of inactivity, not due to any doctrinal issues or any specific reason. I joined the military and went overseas for a few years and my inactivity just continued when I came home. We have been fairly active for the last 10 years and both hold callings. We don't currently hold active temple recommends. The temple experience was not the "wonderful and glorious" experience that we were essentially promised. We were sealed and took out our endowments. By the worlds standards we are still pretty square and boring people.

Occasionally, my wife still (I guess for a better word) craves a glass of wine or even tea. Every time she makes a pitcher of tea (she doesn't want a lecture) I kind of cringe a little thinking "we're breaking the word of wisdom again". Or any time I watch a football game on TV Sunday afternoon. We don't disire to go out clubbing, or to watch porn, lie, cheat, steal, ect. All in all, we are good people and believers. If we watch a movie with too much sex or bad language we will turn it off. We quit watching "How I met Your Mother" because of that reason. On New Years or our Anniversary we want to have a glass of wine and not have to worry about not going to the Celestial Kingdom because of it. We are taught to endure to the end and it just doesn't look like it's going to happen without making lots of "transgressions" in the process. Perhaps I've interpreted it wrong, but from what I understand that if we don't both make it to the Celestial Kingdom, our sealing will be nullified in whatever kingdom we inherit and we will wind up alone.

We both have a testimony of the gospel, althoug there are some things she disagrees with. I know that we have a living prohet and apostles that are Special Witnesses of Christ. I know that from the reassurance I get each time I listen to them bear the witness that what they say is true.

I guess my point of my rambling on and on is that I feel we aren't alone. We run into the same issue a lot of members I believe have, scared that we are never going to be good enough. Our Bishop's Daughter and her husband (both returned missionaries and lifelong members) have recently left the church for just that same reason. They say that they feel a weight has been lifted off of their conscience and they are now "free". She now has several tatoos and he drinks beer while watching football. I myself would never leave the church (my wife I cannot speak for), it has been my life for 40 years. I know that we aren't perfect beings, any of us and that we are going to make mistakes. I don't feel that drinking a glass of wine a couple times a year (which we don't do, but desire to) or some of the other little things that we might do, would warrant losing our place in the Celestial Kingdom. I stress over it a lot and it occasionaly makes me physically ill when I think about it too much.

Any words of wisom (no pun intended) or advice from those out there with the same concerns?

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Know one thing and rejoice in it; you are a brother in Christ Jesus in every sense of the word. As a son of God you are entitled to all that the Father has by virtue of the Atonement. We have been commanded to "Be ye therefore perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect". Understand that this command was and is not given because we can achieve perfection in this life, but that we will strive to be like our Savior. It is the striving that is so vital. We will all be tempted and we will all sin. In fact, we will be sinners our entire lives as mortals on this earth. We are made perfect in Christ; he is our Savior in every sense of the word.

I have heard stories like the one you recounted about the Bishop's daughter and her husband and it is painful. It is painful because these two individuals have lived their entire lives in the Church and yet never understand the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They avoided the real meat of gospel and instead focused on the mechanics of being a member. Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses and all it entails. Having rules about every facet of life was done away with in favor of loving the Lord God with all our hearts and loving our neighbor; this is the sum total of the Law. This does not mean that we should follow the dictates of our own heart, rather it means that we strive to draw neigh unto Christ. We learn to hunger after righteousness; we align our lives with Christ and we learn to enjoy the companionship of the Holy Spirit. Do you see that it is about wanting and striving to be near the Spirit rather than feeling compelled to follow individual commandments?

Come to understand more fully who you are in relationship to your Father in Heaven. Learn to love the presence of the Holy Spirit. Know that your perfection will come through Christ and remember that you will always be a sinner. Talk about the Spirit with your wife and encourage her to do the same thing. Pray together and make it a habit. God bless you; you have a wonderful path to walk. There is a reason that it is called the Good News; find that joy.

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Well, for a start, we will never in this life be good enough. It's not possible. From the moment you committed your first transgression you had gone from innocent to guilty. No repentance, no compensation, no regret, no profound feelings of guilt nor godly sorrow for your transgression suffice to remove the guilt. You are toast.

But it just so happens that a particular kind and gentle individual who lived about 2,000 years ago, a man who is the only one who ever managed or will manage to live his life without any transgression, suffered voluntarily in his mortal body the pains that we must suffer when justice comes calling to take its due on us. They were terrible pains, so bad that He, who was partly divine, later said of them

Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit — and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink — Nevertheless, glory be to the Father, and I partook and finished my preparations unto the children of men.

And because of his guiltless suffering, He and He alone is capable of drawing all of Father's children to Him if they would but repent, and if they do then they need not suffer, for His suffering suffices for all of them.

You cannot be good enough. But at the same time, you don't need to be. All you have to do is try very hard. Unfortunately, when it comes to trying hard to keep commandments, casually or deliberately breaking them over and over again doesn't seem to me to quite fill the bill. I cannot be the judge of what constitutes "trying hard enough", nor can I judge you or your wife. I myself fail at little things all the time.

But to think that letting go, like the couple you mention who felt a "great weight" lift from them when they left the Church, is going to be a profitable course of action in the end of things? "Self-deception" is the best term for it I can come up with. The best you can hope for in that scenario is that you'll feel whatever comfort you derive from giving up during the remainder of your life. Because that's the only comfort you'll get, you better enjoy it while you got it.

It's so ODD though. I keep the Word of Wisdom pretty much automatically. I don't feel much of a lack for want of a tall, cold beer, or a nice glass of wine. And I wasn't born in the Church. If you're not addicted to something, and yet you can't do without it, I don't know what to think about that. Perhaps you just don't want the blessings associated with it? Perhaps you just don't want someone telling you what you can and can't do? Is there a place in the Celestial Kingdom for the rebellious? I don't think so, actually.

The Gospel is a happy subject; the Good News is that through Christ we can win a place at the table with Father, clean and forgiven. If we don't want to have a place at the table, however, then nobody is going to force us.

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You will never be good enough.

Accept it and don't worry about it. That is why the whole atonement thing was necessary.

I learned this first on my mission. An overzealous Zone Leader set some unrealistic goals. After months of failure we finally met them. We were happy. Then he said we've proved we can meet our goals so we should up them 50%. A light went off in my head: "Screw this." I just don't worry as much anymore. The Savior has told me He intends to save me. I can stop Him if I want. I don't. He will perfect me in His own way and in His own time and in a way that will work with what I have. To put it in perspective I just have to read the scriptures. He has saved far worse then me.

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Occasionally, my wife still (I guess for a better word) craves a glass of wine or even tea. Every time she makes a pitcher of tea (she doesn't want a lecture) I kind of cringe a little thinking "we're breaking the word of wisdom again". Or any time I watch a football game on TV Sunday afternoon. We don't disire to go out clubbing, or to watch porn, lie, cheat, steal, ect. All in all, we are good people and believers. If we watch a movie with too much sex or bad language we will turn it off. We quit watching "How I met Your Mother" because of that reason. On New Years or our Anniversary we want to have a glass of wine and not have to worry about not going to the Celestial Kingdom because of it. We are taught to endure to the end and it just doesn't look like it's going to happen without making lots of "transgressions" in the process. Perhaps I've interpreted it wrong, but from what I understand that if we don't both make it to the Celestial Kingdom, our sealing will be nullified in whatever kingdom we inherit and we will wind up alone.

.

Any words of wisom (no pun intended) or advice from those out there with the same concerns?

I think that the tea issue can be dicussed. For example, I enjoy drinking ice tea but it is decafeinated. But this is hard to find. Do you think that your wife would mind decafe iced tea?

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Our Bishop's Daughter and her husband (both returned missionaries and lifelong members) have recently left the church for just that same reason. They say that they feel a weight has been lifted off of their conscience and they are now "free". She now has several tatoos and he drinks beer while watching football.

The problem is: we are never free. If the man continues to drink beer he may find the beer will begin to hold him back. And at some time in the woman's life she may find that the tattoos may hold her back and give her some regrets.

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.

Any words of wisom (no pun intended) or advice from those out there with the same concerns?

Forget the good enough feeling. However, we also cannot allow such sentiments to foster our weaknesses. But we also need to realize that we all sin and we have repentance to helps us through.

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I am a lifetime member of the church, my wife is what I call a "reluctant" convert. She believes many of the teachings, but not all. I went through a long period of inactivity, not due to any doctrinal issues or any specific reason. I joined the military and went overseas for a few years and my inactivity just continued when I came home. We have been fairly active for the last 10 years and both hold callings. We don't currently hold active temple recommends. The temple experience was not the "wonderful and glorious" experience that we were essentially promised. We were sealed and took out our endowments. By the worlds standards we are still pretty square and boring people.

Occasionally, my wife still (I guess for a better word) craves a glass of wine or even tea. Every time she makes a pitcher of tea (she doesn't want a lecture) I kind of cringe a little thinking "we're breaking the word of wisdom again". Or any time I watch a football game on TV Sunday afternoon. We don't disire to go out clubbing, or to watch porn, lie, cheat, steal, ect. All in all, we are good people and believers. If we watch a movie with too much sex or bad language we will turn it off. We quit watching "How I met Your Mother" because of that reason. On New Years or our Anniversary we want to have a glass of wine and not have to worry about not going to the Celestial Kingdom because of it. We are taught to endure to the end and it just doesn't look like it's going to happen without making lots of "transgressions" in the process. Perhaps I've interpreted it wrong, but from what I understand that if we don't both make it to the Celestial Kingdom, our sealing will be nullified in whatever kingdom we inherit and we will wind up alone.

We both have a testimony of the gospel, althoug there are some things she disagrees with. I know that we have a living prohet and apostles that are Special Witnesses of Christ. I know that from the reassurance I get each time I listen to them bear the witness that what they say is true.

I guess my point of my rambling on and on is that I feel we aren't alone. We run into the same issue a lot of members I believe have, scared that we are never going to be good enough. Our Bishop's Daughter and her husband (both returned missionaries and lifelong members) have recently left the church for just that same reason. They say that they feel a weight has been lifted off of their conscience and they are now "free". She now has several tatoos and he drinks beer while watching football. I myself would never leave the church (my wife I cannot speak for), it has been my life for 40 years. I know that we aren't perfect beings, any of us and that we are going to make mistakes. I don't feel that drinking a glass of wine a couple times a year (which we don't do, but desire to) or some of the other little things that we might do, would warrant losing our place in the Celestial Kingdom. I stress over it a lot and it occasionaly makes me physically ill when I think about it too much.

Any words of wisom (no pun intended) or advice from those out there with the same concerns?

You will know that you are "good enough" when the gospel becomes the focus of your life, rather than something that has to be endured.

Edited by zerinus
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It is hard to just ignore. I can understand just quiting. I'm not a Type A personality and that is what is pushed by some in the church. I have stress attacks over home-teaching and am just tired of hearing that I'm not doing good enough. Many can't handle the constant judgement, even if it is in their own minds. Perhaps some don't want to see X as weakness anymore and they just want to live their own lives. Most don't have major sins in their lives, nor do they want to. They just want to live their own lives. If they don't get any joy out of an activity, it won't be an activity for long. I've seen a lot of people leave the church because they just don't enjoy it anymore.

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It is hard to just ignore. I can understand just quiting. I'm not a Type A personality and that is what is pushed by some in the church. I have stress attacks over home-teaching and am just tired of hearing that I'm not doing good enough. Many can't handle the constant judgement, even if it is in their own minds. Perhaps some don't want to see X as weakness anymore and they just want to live their own lives. Most don't have major sins in their lives, nor do they want to. They just want to live their own lives. If they don't get any joy out of an activity, it won't be an activity for long. I've seen a lot of people leave the church because they just don't enjoy it anymore.

I know people like that too. A friend of mine quit about 18 months ago? for a variety of reasons, none doctrinal. BUT even now she talks about the Church as if she is still a member which is good and she isn't hostile or anti or anything. I don't know what the answer is for her and her situation. So I try to be positive about the Church and the gospel

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After we have been baptized and entered onto the path that leads to eternal life, as we continue to have faith in Christ, hunger and thirst after righteousness (which just means we desire to be righteous very much-remember that people who hunger and thirst for something don't have it, they just want it), repent of our sins and work at not justifying them, and continue to do these things for our entire lives, we will be saved in the Celestial kingdom.

We will never be good enough. That's why we need Christ. Nephi said that we are saved by grace after all we can do. Literally, all we can do is have faith in Christ, repent of our sins, and keep doing that every day.

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As the Master said, "None is good, save one, that is, God."

We are not good enough, but God is good enough. All we can do is love Him with all our hearts and follow Him in faith, and hope that we get the glorious experience of hearing Him tell us, "Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord."

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The question is not are we ever good enough but rather are we good enough for our goals. If I want to be a school teacher, taking English as a major and math as a minor, and with other jurisdictional requirements, I would have fulfilled the requirements to be a teacher. I would not be qualified, however, to be a short order cook, a bus driver, or a dentist. If I had the skills, I might bet a masters or a phd and become a university professor and the question would be, which university and which mentor should I select for my PHD? Do my goals require me to go to Harvard, or would attending the University of Alberta be sufficient.

The standards God has set out are quite clear so if it is your goal to become like him then you know what you have to do. If you are quite happy to attain a terrestrial glory and you have no desire to be sealed to your wife for all eternity, or to attain exultation then you know how to reach this degree as well. We will all be given a glory equal to our obedience, and nobody will be placed in a glory that is above or below their station. I know that I would be very unhappy if I had to become a doctor and I do not enjoy socializing with foul mouthed 20 something construction workers. Likewise, there are many who simply would not be happy in the celestial kingdom because they simply are not committed to that degree of obedience. There are scoundrels who would even be miserable in the terrestrial kingdom.

I am not in a position to judge you so my comments are not intended to label you as a terrestrial person. My point is that, the standards are quite clear so if you want to attain exultation you know what you have to do. If your testimony is sufficiently strong, the principles of the gospel become a part of you. If you enjoy history and want to become a history professor,then studying the material becomes a joy to you. The same is true with living the gospel. You need to decide what kind of person you want to be.

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The temple experience was not the "wonderful and glorious" experience that we were essentially promised.

I don't think it ever is the first time. I encourage you to get your recommend and keep going back, even if your wife doesn't. The first time my son went through he said "is that all there is?" I told him its one of those things that over time gives you greater experiences. Sometimes it will be just routine; other times you will receive revelation and understanding you never got before. Each time is different.

This son is now a regular temple goer and loves it.

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I wish I can find a blog post about a lady in the Church who either quit the Church and came back or had just stopped attending the Temple altogether but she went back to the Temple, gave it another chance and it changed her, beautiful story! but nuts if I can find it again

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President Joseph F. Smith said:

“We do not look for absolute perfection in man. Mortal man is not capable of being absolutely perfect. Nevertheless, it is given to us to be as perfect in the sphere in which we are called to be and to act, as it is for the Father in heaven to be pure and righteous in the more exalted sphere in which he acts." (Gospel Doctrine, 5th ed., Salt Lake City, Deseret Book Co., 1939, p. 132; italics added.)

Achieving perfection relative to our mortal sphere would probably include things such as; repenting of our sins; walking by faith; receiving all the ordinances; being faithful to covenants we make with God; obeying the commandments; seeking first the kingdom of God; and having unconditional love and charity to all mankind. Obtaining all these things can't happen all at once. I think people sometimes worry too much about not doing everything they think they are supposed to do. But if we at least keep trying and not give up we will be so much the better when we reach the next world where our road to perfection will continue. Our life should be a journey of joy; not a guilt trip.

President Kimball said perfection is a "process to be pursued throughout one's lifetime" (Kimball, Spencer W. "Hold Fast to the Iron Rod." Ensign 8 (Nov. 1978):4-6)

Become as perfect as we can in single things along the way and over time they will eventually add up to a more complete and more perfect individual.

A good talk on this subject was given by Russell M. Nelson called “Perfection Pending", in the November 1995 Ensign, page 86.

http://lds.org/ensign/1995/11/perfection-pending?lang=eng

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I read an article many years ago in the reader's digest about perfectionism. The article described three types of perfectionism and how they each can spin off from each other. You can believe that others expect perfection from you (whether this is actually true that people do or not) and so if you think that others expect from you you can expect it from yourself and then you can expect perfection from other's-kind of like My Mom made me get A+'s in school and I have to or else I'm nothing and so I expect it from myself and if I have to do it then so do you

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I guess my point of my rambling on and on is that I feel we aren't alone. We run into the same issue a lot of members I believe have, scared that we are never going to be good enough. Our Bishop's Daughter and her husband (both returned missionaries and lifelong members) have recently left the church for just that same reason. They say that they feel a weight has been lifted off of their conscience and they are now "free". She now has several tatoos and he drinks beer while watching football. I myself would never leave the church (my wife I cannot speak for), it has been my life for 40 years. I know that we aren't perfect beings, any of us and that we are going to make mistakes. I don't feel that drinking a glass of wine a couple times a year (which we don't do, but desire to) or some of the other little things that we might do, would warrant losing our place in the Celestial Kingdom. I stress over it a lot and it occasionaly makes me physically ill when I think about it too much.

The Book of Mormon has a passage that clearly answers your premise.

“I say unto you that if ye should serve him who has created you from the beginning, and

is preserving you from day to day, by lending you breath, that ye may live and move and

do according to your own will, and even supporting you from one moment to another–I say,

if ye should serve him with all your whole souls yet ye would be unprofitable servants”

(Mosiah 2:21).

Those who are scared are trusting in themselves instead of God's grace.

As for your desire for drinking a glass of wine a couple times a year ... don't make it a habit

forming thing. The LDS Church says its a word of wisdom to avoid coffee because it contains

harmful drugs (1997 Gospel Principles - substances in the 2009 version). I'm assuming that's

because it contains the addictive "caffeine."

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The reason we need to keep the commandments is so we can show our faith in Christ, but we cannot be perfect without the atonement of Christ, we cannot overcome sin without coming to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. The way we do this is by repentance and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and by renewing the covenant we made at baptism. I have seen the dream of Lehi as almost a symbolic representation of our seeking eternal life:

"And it came to pass that there arose a mist of darkness; yea, even an exceedingly great mist of darkness, insomuch that they who had commenced in the path did lose their way, that they wandered off and were lost. And it came to pass that I beheld others pressing forward, and they came forth and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press forward through the mist of darkness, clinging to the rod of iron, even until they did come forth and partake of the fruit of the tree. And after they had partaken of the fruit of the tree they did cast their eyes about as if they were ashamed. And I also cast my eyes round about, and beheld, on the other side of the river of water, a great and spacious building; and it stood as it were in the air, high above the earth. And it was filled with people, both old and young, both male and female; and their manner of dress was exceedingly fine; and they were in the attitude of mocking and pointing their fingers towards those who had come at and were partaking of the fruit. And after they had tasted of the fruit they were ashamed, because of those that were scoffing at them; and they fell away into forbidden paths and were lost. And now I, Nephi, do not speak all the words of my father. But, to be short in writing, behold, he saw other multitudes pressing forward; and they came and caught hold of the end of the rod of iron; and they did press their way forward, continually holding fast to the rod of iron, until they came forth and fell down and partook of the fruit of the tree. And he also saw other multitudes feeling their way towards that great and spacious building. And it came to pass that many were drowned in the depths of the fountain; and many were lost from his view, wandering in strange roads. And great was the multitude that did enter into that strange building. And after they did enter into that building they did point the finger of scorn at me and those that were partaking of the fruit also; but we heeded them not. These are the words of my father: For as many as heeded them, had fallen away."

(Book of Mormon | 1 Nephi 8:23 - 34)

This being "ashamed" may not be as literal as we think. We may get the idea that we are missing something by not sinning, or living after the manner of the world. This obvious process of walking the strait and narrow path is not easy and it is far too easy to be blinded by the "mists of darkness" which are the temptations of the devil. If we do not partake of the love of God and keep on partaking we can fall away. If we loose the desire for righteousness or get caught up in the process or if we preceive the mocking of those who say we are sinning because we fail to get our home teaching done, or because we are not "good enough" then we may fall away. We must learn how to heed them not. Do the best we can and try to be as faithful as we can and even if we fall short do not heed the mocking voices or pointing fingers of those who would have us give up the path, to seek the great and spacious building or the forbidden paths. We must continue to hold on to the rod of iron and seek to partake of the fruit which is the sweetest of all other by coming to the Lord with our weaknesses so that our weaknesses may become strong.
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Any words of wisom (no pun intended) or advice from those out there with the same concerns?

Personally, I think you have the wrong approach to faith. I mean this with all due respect. But the question shouldn't ever be am I good enough or if I've checked enough boxes. God isn't up there with some form of divine balances figuring out how good or bad we are by wine glass size. Our life isn't measured quantitatively but in quality. Not in the amount of poor or good decisions but our relationship with God.

Instead of asking have i done enough (as everybody else said, you haven't and you can't....God's standard is absolute perfection), I would ask, where is my heart? What is my desire? Do I prefer to just live my life as I see fit or come to better understand God? Obedience isn't about following the checklist to heaven, but learning to be like Christ...it's built on our desires and willingness to become like Him. When our desires are in line, obedience isn't a problem but a gift to opening ourselves for receiving far greater gifts that increase our potential, understanding, and peace. When you've tasted that, wine just doesn't cut it. I have my own temptations. They haven't been small to me. But the idea of falling into them is awful. Not because I worry directly about my status for the celestial kingdom, but because I know I wouldn't have the Spirit in my life as much as I could. God's presence has become everything...nothing on earth can compare. The more we try to understand and follow Him, the more He will open up and we can see Him as He is. But we don't get an easy go. It not always easy. It has been, for myself, sometimes near excruciating. But the results from it have been the most freeing, rewarding, and delectable on the face of creation.

With luv,

BD

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Thanks for all the responses. I can't answer every one individually, so I'll make a blanket response.

The Word of Wisdom for my wife (who didn't grown up with it) for the most part she is ok with. She doesn't believe that it was a commandment from God. She says that it was a result from Emma getting tired of the brethern spitting tobacco all over the floor, thus Joseph made it up himself. Is it being disobedient if you break the W.o.W. without believing it? Will drinking a glass of Tea\Wine really prevent one from obtaining the Celestial Kingdom?The W.o.W also states to eat meat sparingly. Does that put someone that eats meat all the time in the same category as someone that drinks Tea, whether its decaff or not? If that is the case than most of us are in a heap of trouble. She did return to the temple and had the same experience as the first. Her thoughts are that if Satan is not allowed in the temple than she wouldn't have felt the way she did. She (even I to some extent) was kind of freaked out by the whole experience. She (alone) said that she had a bad/dark feeling inside the whole time, like something wasn't right. We had taken the Temple Prep class 3 times before we actually went. She has a terrible time with the whole Polygamy thing. That it is gross, perverted and dirty. She got hold of some Anti sites and went to town with the information she read. She believes that the Church has good fruit (today), but bad roots (beginning).

I don't know if you call it blind faith, but I've never really questioned any of the Church doctrines or beliefs. Perhaps because I grew up in it. It is very difficult to have your spouse with all of the doubts and questions and not begin to question them yourself. It does disturb me to think that we are taught that if we don't following the W.o.W or believe everything we're instructed than we will lose out on a Celestial reward and that if we don't obtain a Celestial reward our sealing to our family (including my deceased son) will be nullified.

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You will know that you are "good enough" when the gospel becomes the focus of your life, rather than something that has to be endured.

“When obedience ceases to be an irritant and becomes our quest, in that moment God will endow us with power.” —President Ezra Taft Benson

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