Sunday, March 14

God is Dead

Would it not be better to be dead than to have this horrible fear that Aslan has come and is not like the Aslan we have believed in and longed for? It is as if the sun rose one day and were a black sun. - King Tirian, The Last Battle

Few things are as painful as the discovery that God is not who we had once believed Him to be. Somewhere along the way we find that whatever It was that helped us find lost keys or comforted us when lonely is not who God really is. The God whom all our prior experience had taught us we would never be forsaken, ends up letting us down at the exact moment when everything else has as well. The God we read about in the scriptures, the Wise Grandfather, the Hope of the Helpless, turns out to be just as unreal as every other childhood hero.

On Moriah, Abraham found God not to be someone with endless promises, but someone prepared to take everything he had. In the garden and on the cross, Jesus found His Ever Present Friend strangely absent, at the moment of greatest need. I have watched many of the people closest to me go through similar experiences. I have seen their anguish, their tears and their pain as they have come to discover the God in whom they once testified and the Church they once loved, become nothing more than smoke and mirrors--an elaborate illusion that collapses during the time when it was most relied. It is too long and hard a road to Oz to find the truth finally at the last scene.

I look back on my life and remember the times I felt closest to Him. I remember:

  • Receiving the missionary lessons, kneeling in prayer, asking in faith and receiving more than I could believe
  • Listening to my first conference session and hearing for the first time the words of a prophet of God
  • Waking up at 6:00am every morning for seminary ready to feast upon the scriptures
  • Opening the Book of Mormon and reading words that were written just for me
  • Stumbling on the words as I blessed the sacrament for the first time
  • Kneeling in prayer in a bathroom stall in my dorm--promising God my whole heart
  • Nervously Humbly placing my hands on her head, trying to muster the faith to speak God's words
  • Riding my bike in torrential rain, on fire with the gospel, so happy to be sharing our Heavenly Father’s love
  • Wanting nothing more than to be like Jesus
  • Following the Spirit to bless people’s lives
  • Believing there was nothing greater in life than obedience, sacrifice and charity

I have the memories but have forgotten the feelings. I remember Him, but no longer feel the love toward Him I once did.

The God who I then believed in (and followed and promised and prayed to) is infinitely different than the God with whom hard experience has acquainted me. A God who stands ready to crush my heart and steal my dreams; who is often so distant that my memory is made foolish; who promises agency and freedom, but leaves me no choice but to surrender.


  1. I love you, friend. I'm here for you always.

  2. Mark, as one who has felt what you now feel, I want you to know that I do believe in the God that I once hated and despised. Later I lost all belief that He even existed.

    Now, I know He does indeed live. It was my spirit that died, that gave up on Him. When I finally opened my heart to Him, He again wrapped His arms around His humbled son.

    I pray someday you will again feel, and not just remember the memories.

    Safe journey,

  3. Bravone I know we have sparred in the past and i have no ill feelings toward you but I again take issue with this comment. Your comment basically says, "Mark I have been there, I know what it is to lose God but I then found him again, one day you will be as knowledgeable as me and again find God."

    To that I say this, Bravone I have been there, you lose God then you find him again, and only then are you strong enough to realize the Mormon God isnt there. You just have yet to complete the final cycle of it. One day you will be as knowledgeable as I am.

    It says nothing. I truly did entirely give up on God in high school. I truly came back into the fold and then once again realized He is not what Mormons preach. So what is to say my experience isnt the "fact."

    Now to Mark,
    I love you. I love you so much. I was always confused by your torturous God who demanded your misery while demanding other's happiness.

    I dont care what the Church says, I dont care what people think, I find it hard to believe that in your heart you dont just know that there is no just God who denies this to people. This isnt about being selfish, it is about being fulfilled. It is about understanding and embracing love. Again I stated, God is love. There is no more honorable way to worship God then to walk in His path. There is no love like the one that would develop between you and the person you share every part of your life and being with.

    I have a testimony and it is a testimony of love. That is a testimony that God wants us to understand and embrace love. Stop living up to the standards of men. Those who damn people for love are weak. The leaders who believe that people are honestly asked to sacrifice love and family, while they themselves have love and family, have blood on their hands.

    Mark, go be Mark. Dont do it for Monson, do it for you. Do it for the world that deserves a Mark who is fulfilled and capable of shining like God enabled him to shine.

    What the Mormon Church is preaching is not God. It is not love. It is not justice. It is not Mark.

    I too want to be a best man someday.


  4. I know you're dying to hear what I have to say about this one Mark.

    Life's full of it's own little trials. None are greater than others in my opinion, a sins a sin, and god frowns upon all sins. Something that we all tend to forget, or not see, is that we become blinding by our own actions which leads us to think thoughts of a distance god. God doesn't distance himself from us, We distance ourselves from him. spiritually we damn ourselves. Sadly others choose to try and "Rationalize" their lives and ways of living. You mentioned that god even distance himself from Christ when he was most needed. But had Christ given up on doing whats right? No, he stayed strong, and continued to go through with it, eventually, finally giving up his spirit to God, even during gods absence. No one will ever truly know the real characteristic of Father, regardless of how much they have gone through, or scriptures they have read. The most important thing for us to remember is that we have a god, and we have a relationship with him, whether great or small. My only advice for you Mark, is to continue to do what you know is true, not what you think is standard among men. Don't be fooled by wolves in sheep clothing man, they'll eat ya. God doesn't change for man, man must change for God.
    That's all I have to say. You need to write a book btw.

  5. Mark I hate these comments. The options are not be celibate or go to hell.

    God is not as simple as mormonism and these commenters wish. For denying a part of themselves, for denying a part of their soul they are no better then others, they are no more righteous nor faithful.

    They want to be, they want to know that they are better, that they are faithful but for them to say such things, even veiled, shows a complete lack of understanding of the God (yes, even the mormon one that they pretend to worship).

    Also to the anonymous commenter, I agree. But who are you to say who is a wolf and who is a sheep? You know what sounds like a wolf, a man who marries and has a family, oh and then marries again when his wife dies and now gets two wives in heaven but then asks others to deny themselves what he gets. That sounds like a wolf. Also the idea that "God doesnt change for man, man must change for God" is complete and utter bullshit. God does change. Such as when Africans were allowed into the Church but then when Brigham Young became President and exercised his own racist beliefs through the Church. If that is the God you are talking about that is a changing God.

    Mark fuck these people. Even if they are right they are so self righteous they will be joining those who did embrace how they feel love in hell.

    To all those who self righteous post I will see you in hell.

  6. whoa. some strong feelings your post evoked. i dont know any of them, but kurt dont be a hater. not everyone has had the same experiences and is in the same place in their knowledge and belief. they are just trying to tell mark what they know and believe right now. just as you have done.
    that said:), my comments to you mark,
    i have always admired you. i hate to feel others in pain. hate hate hate it. i've made my number of mistakes in life. my mom asked me one time how i could have done what i did, knowing what i know. later she said she realized it was because i even though i might have known, i didn't "feel" it. God is the same God of the old testament. i think many people choose to ignore that and just say God is a God of love. which is totally true. His love however is greater than our love and I dont think we can understand it, esp when He allows bad things to happen or even causes them to happen. There are so many things i dont understand. sigh. i just try to do what gives me happiness and peace inside. and for me that is following Jesus Christ. i am going to pharaprase a quote from this women who wrote a book (not an lds lady, she was actually talking about business...) but i think it applies to alot. 'life is difficult no matter what you do, you might as well do the difficult things that will make your life better.'
    love ya lots mark! take care of yourself and even though we never talk anymore, i am here.

  7. Mark, welcome to Outer Blogness! :- )

    I don't mean to make light of trauma. I just want to point out that countless others have gone through pretty much the same evolution that you describe and have survived and even thrived.

    Ultimately, we all have to reconcile the world as we find it with the world we have been taught since childhood. (These are often two different places.) It's part of growing up. Use your own eyes, ears and brain. You'll figure it out and move forward.

    However, speaking from experience, you'll probably never lose your nostalgia for your youthful spiritual experiences. This is just a part of who you are.

  8. I have a final in 50 minutes but I cannot let comments like this stand.

    " i think many people choose to ignore that and just say God is a God of love. which is totally true. love however is greater than our love and I dont think we can understand it, esp when He allows bad things to happen or even causes them to happen. There are so many things i dont understand. sigh. i just try to do what gives me happiness and peace inside. and for me that is following Jesus Christ."

    Wow, how noble of you. Spring is the commandments you happen to follow the commandments that ask you to find a husband and have a family? Are those the commandments that you are so "strong" to follow? And then you write a comment telling mark how that is what gives you happiness.

    The hypocrisy is breath taking. I understand and do love mormonism, but I also hate it. Do you not see the hypocrisy of these comments? "I follow Christ and am happy. You should follow him too because it is what will make you happy. Even though Jesus asks me to do what my heart desires and He asks you to go against yours. But Jesus is happiness, but this is happiness."

    How easy it is to believe in a God who commands you to love.

    How easy it is to condemn others for loving in different ways when you still have full and complete access to that love.

  9. Oi! I feel as though I'm in the same boat as you. I really don't know when, though, that I've felt God's love. I wonder if much of what other people say God's love is, isn't really God's Love.

    I have to though, believe in God, or whatever you want to call it. I have to believe in something after this life. It's all a matter of finding the real God instead of the man made perception of who God is and how he works.

  10. hey now kurt. i wasn't telling mark that he had to do what i do. i was just telling him to find what brings him happiness and peace, whatever that may be for him. i'm sorry my comments offended you. i know that i have no idea what it feels like to be in your situation. i am married and have a family. i am not told that my feelings for the person i love most are wrong. i would appreciate some respect from you though. i do not condemn you or mark or ANYONE else. i wasn't trying to be all high and mighty and noble. just expressing what i felt. i wasnt trying to pick a fight with you either. you said you love mormonism but hate it too. what do you love most and hate most about it?

  11. I love your honesty.

    'God' is love. You have love in every moment. Embrace it and feel peace that you are you and that you have a world to explore and learn from.

    Thanks for sharing :)

  12. Wow your comments are like a blog in its self. Now that I have read all the comments I sadly have forgotten the comments I wanted to write about your post. It however saddens me that Kurt is so angry and wants to pick a fight with everyone who is heart-fully trying to leave you with their own thoughts. I am sure he will pick apart my own comment, but that is life. All I know is God is someone I do not fully understand, but if I could only love unconditionally like him and Jesus Christ I would be a truly better person. I also know he is unchanging. I remember often struggling with things and realizing it was the people around me judging and not God. God is truly the same from the beginning to the end but my little brain can't grasp the concept completely so I just do the best I can in life and do what makes me feel happy and peaceful. I just want you to be happy but I know that finding happiness is hard no matter what religion or culture you are from.

  13. Mark,

    I wish I had some magical words to take away your pain. But, I don't so all I can offer you is my love and friendship. And to let you know that you're not alone.

    I love ya, buddy!

  14. Kurt has a lot of anger and has not problem showing it. While I believe that he is completely valid in his anger, there are ways in which to express it that don't rip other people apart for trying to support you Mark.

    I don't understand God or Jesus Christ for that matter. I feel like I am asked at every turn by the church to do things that I don't want to do or don't make me happy (although probably not as difficult as your trials--not trying to compare). I don't enjoy the church right now and most of the time I hate it. However, the same as you, I remember finding the church and how I know that it is right. So I go, do, and hate all at the same time. I only hope, that either some day I won't feel like this about the church or that the reward I am promised is worth it all.

    I'm so sorry that it is so difficult. I wish that it wasn't. I wish there was a way for me to ease your pain. You are such a good person, with the best heart, and I wish the best for you. Whatever that may be or where ever that may be found.

  15. Dude your young. 25 and thats just in earth yrs. Your soul is forever and your decisions now affect forever.

    Victor Frankel found that as a man thinketh so is he...check it out.

    You plead for a rescuer at your sweet-water but your walking away from the far side of the bank.

    chalk me up as one of those that just doesn't get it. I don't I'm sorry.

    You have a spirit and a really potent one! Look at all the people you are reaching out too / influencing! Just line it all up with the Holy Ghost.

    Anyway gotta go I found you searching for the quote about the 3 boys who saved the pioneers at sweet-water and my spirit is crying out that yours will let go of your gray!

    You won't believe this but I just now found out I am going to the hospital my wife is having our baby!!!!

    Anonymous for now!

  16. Take a good, hard look at Mormonism before you torture yourself anymore. All of the signs and tokens in the temple come from Masonry. You don't have to go to any anti-Mormon blog to discover that one. Also, there is no geological evidence that supports the type of life in American during the time period that it claims. Swords, horses, elephants did not exist in America before Columbus. So, if the location is much else is wrong?

  17. Or perhaps there is no god at all and all these rules and pronouncements are the work of unimaginative limited men.

    I find the idea of a god that requires gay people (and women, and at one point blacks) to be second class citizens to be offensive and abusive. A god that makes arbitrary rules about how and whom humans are allowed to love is a shallow, cruel and capricious being that deserves neither respect nor worship.

    Don't let others tell you how to live, love or be, and that includes your god. Live authentically according to who you are and what you feel.

  18. "Who promises agency and freedom, but leaves me no choice but to surrender." Wow. Yes. You just summed up in one sentence the philosophical quandary I've had for a while.