It’s getting to the point where I just can’t believe this Church is the path that God intends for me. I’ve been a member for five years now, and my life has never been worse than since I joined the Church.
Financially: I have $13 in my pocket, $9 in the bank and $3000 in debt. I rent one of the cheapest places in town, and barter away part of my rent and water bill maintaining some of the property for the landlord. My salary isn’t out of line with what I’ve made in other jobs, but after taxes, child support, bare minimum car insurance, minimum payments toward a couple of the debts, electric bill and phone bill (Cheapest cell plan I could find, less than a land line here, and I have to be reachable for work.) I have about $45/week to get by on, including groceries and any other expenses that come up. I’m down to two passable pairs of work pants, and if one of them fails, I’ll have to eat nothing but beans, ramen and rice until the next payday to afford a replacement.
Socially: Not even one passable relationship prospect within the last year. The only ones that even came close turned out to be serious alcoholics, (Including plenty of the LDS ones. As a recovering alcoholic, I don’t need the temptation of someone who wants a drinking buddy as much as or more than a relationship, and some of them get mad when I refuse to buy them alcohol at dinner too.) Many of my close friends have moved out of the area, (or out of this plane of existence) and I can’t afford to go see the ones even just an hour away. (Though the fact that only one of them has come to see me in the last year has me tempted to scratch most of them off the “close friends” list.)
Spiritually: I feel the Spirit more in the opening prayer at political rallies than I do in Sacrament meeting. I’m sure a part of that comes from the blatant shunning that we single males are subjected to, but I also just can’t seem to find any value in having an Ensign article I’ve already read myself repeated verbatim at me over the pulpit.
Physically: I’ve had more health issues in the last couple of years than at any point since I was about eight years old. I don’t know if it’s the stress, if God is just refusing to grant me any blessings of health, or what, but the simple fact is that I’m in worse health now than I was as an unobservant Methodist.
I’ve gone to the bishop, but honestly, that just made things worse. Instead of wise, caring counsel and understanding, I’ve gotten three callings, and turned down two more. One the evening after my divorce was finalized. No guidance other than “magnify your calling and it will all get better.” I tried for years. I ran myself ragged, even added to the debt mentioned above. I let my callings take away from my limited time with my children. Nothing got better. It all steadily got worse. Once, I even spent several days in jail sitting out a traffic ticket I couldn’t afford to pay because I’d already overshot my budget trying to magnify my calling. Again, no help from the bishop; just the counsel to make sure I paid tithing before figuring out my budget.
I’m past the point of hoping for blessings. I’m past the point of believing that there’s some special amount of work that will make things better. I honestly cannot bring myself to believe anymore that He has anything in store for me but His continued indifference and denial of happiness.
Short of some minor miracle, I feel the next time I enter the bishop’s office, it will be to ask about the process of having my name removed from the records.