3.27.2006

Dear Celibate, from Disillusioned

Just opened the Celibate mailbox and found an email from a longtime reader. He is struggling and he express what all religious celibates feel at least once a lifetime, maybe once a month, or even once a day. Here's an excerpt:

Short version, right now, all three of those prospects look very good at this point, and to be honest, I've been playing by LDS dating rules for a while, and I'm not seeing much, if any, reward for it. Just a lot of loneliness, frustration, and general disillusionment with the general social atmosphere of the Church. Then, add in the fact that once I'm 31, I'm off to a family ward (thanks to the directive from Salt Lake City concerning young single adult wards), where at best I'm an afterthought, or at worst, they think there might be something wrong with someone in the church who isn't married at 31. I've given serious thought to not even bothering with a family ward once I'm out of the YSA ward.

I feel I'm at the end of my rope, and I'm looking for a good reason NOT to take the first such offer I think I can live with as opposed to continuing with the status quo - and having a hard time coming up with one. I survived the last Valentine's Day - alone, as usual. Just for once, I want something different than being alone. Any sort of relationship (to include "friends with benefits") has to be better than my present situation.


I know how you feel. I've been there. I am there. The first thing is to consider your relationship with God. Remember the promises you made at baptism and why you made them. You didn't do it because He promised you an easy life with a companion on earth. That stuff is icing. Why did you get baptized? Have those things changed? For me the answer was 'no', so I decided to keep on keeping on. It also helped to put my own suffering in perspective. Just remember the horrible lives of the saints and prophets. Choose anyone from the scriptures and their lives probably suck more than yours.

We weren't promised joy in this life. This life is a trial by definition. I think a lot of people in this church forget that. They develop a sense of entitlement, believing that because they've followed the rules they deserve a perfect life. We are promised blessings but we weren't promised we'd have them NOW. Are we more righteous than Christ? His life was terrible! We don't necessarily get rewarded on earth for obedience. This is where faith comes into play. It takes a mountain of faith to keep going when we can't see the benefits.

Another thing that helps me is my belief that God is absolutely fair. So even though I'm alone and bored and hopeless about love, I really believe that everyone struggles as much as I do, just in different ways. So people who have lovers have some things better than I do, but they have other things that make their lives a lot harder.

Then I try to remember that I chose this life I'm complaining about. It was my own devising that got me here. I could have married one or two of the losers from my past but I knew that would cause me great unhappiness. So I suffer this kind of unhappiness instead. Everyone's path is different but we made them ourselves. I am celibate and alone because I chose to be. I'd like things to be different and I look forward to changes but I don't want to compromise. Taking ownership of our circumstances helps alleviate the feeling of victimization. [Can you tell I spent 19 years in therapy? Yuck!]

Disillusioned, you could have one of the skeezes at your fingertips and you'd probably feel better, you'd be less lonely and more relaxed. You'd probably be happier. I'm not going to tell you that you wouldn't. But it is a trade-off. Are you ready to give up your religion for temporal happiness? This is probably the hardest choice religious people have to make. Do you sacrifice happiness now for the truth? I had to remind myself that I think truth is more important than enjoying earth life. Isn't that what it means to be a saint? Isn't Christianity about sacrifice? You're not a Christian because you were promised wine and roses. See the wine and roses for what they are and compare their value to your religion. Which is more important to you?


...I could go on and on with this topic. I've thought about these things for years and years now.

Take care of yourselves.

8 comments:

Stephen said...

They develop a sense of entitlement, believing that because they've followed the rules they deserve a perfect life. 

Very well said. But God is not a black box (or a magic box of any kind) and this life is not the end goal. 

Left by Stephen M (Ethesis)

Beatrix Kiddo said...

Thanks for that! I DEFINITELY needed that reminder!!! 

Left by Rin

Hellmut said...

I like the parable of the talents. In the end, we are responsible for our lifes. God blessed us with a brain. Sheltered by our parents, we acquired judgment. Now, we are responsible for ourselves, not Church leaders. Just because some choices are unconventional does not mean that they are inappropriate or evil. When we open our minds to the opportunities that life provides for us, we may not become happy but we will be better off.

Parable of the talents, great advice from Jesus Christ. 

Left by Hellmut Lotz

Anonymous said...

That was the best entry/post you have ever written. I can relate to the person who wrote to you, because I was in my 30s & LDS before I got married. I also remember feeling those same EXACT feelings of "where is my place and what am I supposed to do." Never fear the family ward, you might be happily surprised, I was, because that is how I met my husband.

Elder Nelson gave a great talk in Oct 2005 confrence about the healing power of the Atonement, and he states that because of the Savior, "No condition is hopeless...and real joy awaits each of us on the other side of sorrow."

Don't give up the faith.



 

Left by Anon in NM

Adam said...

"We weren't promised joy in this life. This life is a trial by definition. I think a lot of people in this church forget that. They develop a sense of entitlement, believing that because they've followed the rules they deserve a perfect life. We are promised blessings but we weren't promised we'd have them NOW. Are we more righteous than Christ? His life was terrible! We don't necessarily get rewarded on earth for obedience. This is where faith comes into play. It takes a mountain of faith to keep going when we can't see the benefits."

With that paragraph you have summed up what eludes 95% of us 95% of the time; including myself. I've been following your blog for a while now and have to say that this posting is positively brilliant. 

Left by Adam

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that post! I needed that reminder, also. May I say that I'm really digging the healthy celibate as of late? Because I am. Again, thanks.

a spectator said...

I like this so much. Thanks for writting it. 

Left by aspectator

Miranda said...

I think most people in the modern world could stand to read this post. I've been reading your blog for a little while now and this is the first post that really made me think about my life and how I have been a little off-track for the past little while.

Thank you very much!
 

Left by Miranda