I believe we all lose our religion, or at least one religion at least once in our lifetimes. I lost mine. I remember when it happened.
It wasn’t that long ago.
In 2013, I was at my bottom. I had exploited my favorite drug to its finite but frustrating conclusion and I was left once again with nowhere to go. In spite of a nagging feeling I was doing something wrong, I had entered into a relationship that wasn’t healthy for any of the parties involved. But, it fed my addiction.
What was I addicted to? What did I worship?
Feeling good. When people asked me what I wanted for my children’s futures, I simply said, and believed, I wanted them to be “Happy.”
The way I approached that illusion of happiness was through my body. It is called “Hedonism.” I worshipped, for lack of a better word, “seeking pleasure”, because it literally made up the basis behind what I chose to do every waking hour.
I was not alone in my pursuit of happiness in that manner. For twenty-two years, I was married to a man who not only pursued hedonism for himself, but for us as a couple. With his encouragement, I worked as an exotic dancer and was photographed in a pornographic manner.
He was an addict, I became his fix. I became his pornography.
For over 20 years, I was in a marriage that worshipped sex and pornographic images. For over 20 years, I was hedonistic. But was I happy?
I will shout an unequivocal, “NO!!!”
I didn’t even KNOW about God’s plan of happiness!!!
When I began to learn, I cried my eyes out!!! I couldn’t believe that I had treated MY TEMPLE that God gave me in such a disrespectful manner!!! I was ASHAMED!
I was ashamed of my actions, of the marks I had PURCHASED to put on my body PERMANENTLY!! I had graffitied HIS work!!
Mortified. That’s a better word.
I bawled for hours. My knees on that bare wooden floor where I asked God how to come closer to Jesus Christ on March 6, 2013. For MONTHS I cried. No matter who told me that because I hadn’t KNOWN what I was doing, it wasn’t considered the sin I felt it was….but I could NOT STOP CRYING.
Seven years later, sitting here in a power chair, a single woman, I’m reflecting on a broken engagement. I am wondering what marriage is for.
I’ve been in two marriages. Neither have been Sealed in the Temple. No Eternal matches.
That was supposed to have happened last week.
Instead, I am alone and single.
Elder Dale G. Renlund wrote an article this month, “The Divine Purposes of Sexual Intimacy,” published on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints about what sexual intimacy is in its rightful place:
Heavenly Father intends that sexual relations in marriage be used to create children and to express love and strengthen the emotional, spiritual, and physical connections between husband and wife. In marriage, sexual intimacy should unite wife and husband together in trust, devotion, and consideration for each other.Elder Dale G. Renlund
I have been contemplating, absent of the hedonism of the past, what is marriage for.
What am I looking for in a husband?
I am 53. I am a grandma. I love my family, but most of my family has never darkened the door of the church where I now worship.
The late President Boyd K. Packer, in his talk that began with a cookie and a kiss, spoke about The Plan of Happiness:
Over the years I have frequently taught an important principle: the end of all activity in the Church is to see that a man and a woman with their children are happy at home, sealed together for time and for all eternity.President Boyd K. Packer
Being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I believe that marriage is an Eternal commitment. So, finding the person to fit in with my bunch will take a literal act of God. But I know my prayers are heading in the right direction.
Our happiness in mortal life, our joy and exaltation are dependent upon how we respond to these persistent, compelling physical desires…And if you suppose that the full-blown rapture of young romantic love is the sum total of the possibilities which spring from the fountains of life, you have not yet lived to see the devotion and the comfort of longtime married love. Married couples are tried by temptation, misunderstandings, financial problems, family crises, and illness, and all the while love grows stronger. Mature love has a bliss not even imagined by newlyweds.President Boyd K. Packer
I know that my sights are set on the Eternal Plan of Happiness. I have faith that God will provide the proper husband for me at exactly the right time.
That time was not now.
And I am so incredibly okay with that.
I am happy. Not in a hedonism sort of way, but in an Eternal way. I know that God has my back, my front and all the parts in between. He’s got this.
Here is a recent Testimony Video for your enjoyment: