Monday, March 12, 2007

Angry with God

Sometimes,
I am angry with God
Just as a child can sometimes be angry with his earthly parents
I am angry with Him for putting these burdens upon me
Unlike burdens that other people have
These burdens tempt me to violate his most sacred laws
Why would He put these feelings in me
And then tell me that I can never ever act on these feelings?
What kind of a test is this?
Am I being punished for something I did in the preexistence?
Although I followed God,
Was I sympathetic towards Lucifer’s cause?
Did I not rally around Jehovah as much as I should have?
Is the Celestial Kingdom not within my reach?
Am I destined to spend eternity as a ministering angel?
The scriptures tell us that “men are that they might have joy”
But, how much joy can one really have
When they have to take medication
To keep them from wanting to just end it all?
But, with time
These feelings subside
And so does my anger with God

This is a poem I wrote a few months ago. I haven't really thought much about it recently until I happened across an article titled Go Ahead, Be Angry at God. on the Chi Rho Press blog. I don't normally follow this particular blog, but this article was linked to from a discussion group that I follow.

So, this got me to thinking: Is it OK to be angry with God? Should I go outside and yell at God so that I then sit down with Him and try to figure things out with a clearer mind (as Adam DeBaugh suggests in his article)? Or is the very notion of being angry with God a sin that I should repent of for even thinking about?

Adam DeBaugh is right about one thing: "God's shoulders are broad and powerful - God can certainly deal with my puny anger." And, I'm sure I wouldn't be the first person, or last person, to feel angry with God. But, then I hear my mother saying: "if all of your friends jump off a cliff ..."

My situation being a gay Mormon who is striving to stay true to the church makes me part of a very small minority. Few people can even fathom what we have to deal with day after day. As I posted in a comment on SG's blog earlier today, I feel like I'm in a constant tug-of-war, and I'm the rope. But, does this give me the right to be angry with God?

Unfortunately, like other aspects of my life, I have questions - but no answers.

I recall back in college when I was first investigating the church and taking the missionary discussions, I didn't have any problem believing that Joseph Smith was a prophet, that the Book of Mormon was a second witness of Jesus Christ. It all made perfect sense to me. What I struggled with was a basic belief in God. When I was baptized, my testimony was a tenuous "If there is a God then this is His church."

I grew up in a Christian home and attended church all my life. However, once I got to High School, I began to question some of the things I heard preached from the pulpit. Going to church on Sunday became a weekly argument with my parents who, eventually, gave in to my tantrums and relented that I didn't have to go to church if I didn't want to. I considered myself agnostic. I acknowledged that there might be a god, I chose not to believe in one. In particular, I had a difficult time believing that the universe was black and white. I couldn't accept that there was Heaven and Hell with nothing in between. I couldn't accept the whole Salvation by Grace thing. I couldn't understand how a just God could condemn people to Hell simply by the situation of their birth (being born in a non Christian country with no option of hearing his word). Of course, the LDS missionaries had answers to these, and every other concern that I had. And, I believed, that if they could answer those big stumbling blocks for me then I could probably find many other answers in this church.

And I have found many answers. And my testimony in the Gospel has grown. I served on a mission after only being a member a short time (two years). I married in the Temple, even though none of my family were able to attend. I've strived to do my best in every calling I've been given - from Ward Music Director to Counselor in the Bishopric. My life in the church is full of wonderful memories of wonderful people I've met over the years. But, there are some questions where the answer continues to elude me - even after 33 years in the church. And, I'm ashamed to admit, I'm beginning to wonder why God has left me hanging for so long. Hence,

Sometimes,
I am angry with God
Just as a child can sometimes be angry with his earthly parents
.
.
.

9 comments:

Ammon said...

Sometimes I get angry too. I havn't found an answer yet either, but I have hope for one. I don't think it matters very much to God if you get mad or not, but its hard for ME to stay mad somehow. It just takes a little while for me to look around and notice how much I already have that makes sense. I believe that this makes sense to God, and thats what matters, right?

Beck said...

I look at it as Christ's Parable of the Talents... he gives us 1, 2 or 5 talents and watches to see what we do with them. Are we like the ones who received 2 or 5 and made 4 or 10 out of them (allowed the package of characteristics, qualities and capacities that we were given to grow and magnify and multiply and mature) or are we like the one who received 1 and decided that the Master was unjust (and became angry, jealous, frustrated and bitter for having recieved this package of qualities, capacities, characteristics) and buried it in the ground and didn't do anything about it because we were too bitter and frustrated and angry - and in the process didn't grow or magnify or mature anything?

Don't blame God... just do what you can from what you've been given and don't worry about anyone else's "package of talents". It doesn't matter what he gave you or what others got or did with theirs... it just matters what I do with mine!

In this light - I can't be angry, for in the end - life really is FAIR!

Mormon Enigma said...

Beck, do you consider being gay a talent that we should magnify? How does one magnify gayness without violating God's laws?

drex said...

(drat, comment didn't go through. rethinking...)

Keep in mind that "talents" in the context of the scripture aren't referring to skills or abilities, but are instead measures of money. I conceptualize talents in this sense as the things that add up to make me uniquely me. In this sense, gayness is certainly a "talent" - and one that has certainly blessed my life and put me in a position to bless others' lives in a unique way. Magnifying gayness in the sense of coming to understand yourself and your struggles in order to better know how you fit God's plan and how you can help those around you definitely makes it a benefit.

With regards to anger, God can certainly take it, but there are more effective ways to come to mutual understanding and heavenly communication. God seems to be quick to forgive the once-angry individual, so I wouldn't consider it anything grevious, but I just think it isn't the best method to use to talk with God. It is *a* method, though, so it shouldn't be discounted. Some people just communicate better that way.

Beck said...

"I conceptualize talents in this sense as the things that add up to make me uniquely me. In this sense, gayness is certainly a "talent" - and one that has certainly blessed my life and put me in a position to bless others' lives in a unique way. Magnifying gayness in the sense of coming to understand yourself and your struggles in order to better know how you fit God's plan and how you can help those around you definitely makes it a benefit."

Drex said it better than I... I concur 100% that we make something out of what we've been given! We do the best we can with our unique situation! That's the point.

SG said...

Your poem struck home with me. I've felt the same way many times, and without the medication I take would undoubtedly have attempted to end it all (and perhaps would have succeeded).

I have constantly reminded myself of what Paul wrote to the Corinthians: I Corinthians 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

Even though it often seems we're tempted beyond our ability to bear, we need to remind ourselves that we're stronger than we think.

Beck and Drex (doesn't that float off the tongue) said it so well. Lots of wisdom from them!

We're all in the same boat; we're here to help each other.

-L- said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
-L- said...

I think most anger comes from a misunderstanding. The other day I was driving on the freeway in a place I'm not familiar with and the lane to my right suddenly ended with a car right next to me trying to merge in. I didn't know whether to brake or go faster to let him in, so by the time he got situated in behind me, the lane had already ended and he thought I had deliberately tried to keep him out (or something). He put his bright lights on and tailgated me for a while and then passed me and slowed down in front of me. If I tried to change lanes, he would swerve in front of me dangerously. There were other people on the road and he was being a maniac and slowing us all done just to be spiteful because he thought I had been a jerk (when I had not been).

Wow. That was really long for a slightly irrelevant story.

The point is, most stories I think about where anger is an issue show issues with misunderstanding. I wonder if anger at God (which we all probably experience at times) is no different.

Stephalumpagus said...

I think everyone gets angry at God at some point. With our limited perspective and understanding, it's hard not to. Naked Native once told me he liked to think of his SSA as showing that God just has a sense of humor. That sounds kind of cruel I guess, but if you think of it as when a little kid gets really angry at his parents for something they did, it makes more sense. Little kids get really mad at things that seem trivial to an adult, and the parent just sort of chuckles. Like L said, it might just be an issue of misunderstanding. All the same, we still get angry at God. Luckily it takes a lot more for him to be angry at us, and he's always willing to forgive us when our anger subsides.