I’ve been depressed pretty much all my life. The past couple years though everything got worse and with it so did my testimony. However I kept doing what I was supposed to be doing hoping to gain my testimony back.. It came back, but then I lost it again. That happened several times, until at some point around this time last year I lost it again. I kept doing what I was supposed to be doing but nothing was happening and everything around me got worse and worse and my life seemed to hit rock bottom. I eventually gave up with prayer and scripture reading, it didn’t seem to be helping any. I don’t enjoy going to church anymore or YW’s, but if there’s ever a time we have to miss I get mad. I KNOW I need a testimony…I need that reassurance right now in my life, I KNOW that, but why can’t I believe in the church anymore? I got my Patriarchal blessing in June 2005 and at the end of it, it said that I would be married in the Temple to a worthy Priesthood holder and that I would come forth in the morning of the first resurrection. Being married in the temple is my biggest dream right now, even though I don’t feel like I have a testimony, I know that’s where I need to be. I want to return to Him when my life on earth is over, but how can I when I feel like this. Please, how do I get my testimony back?
Confused and lost
I guess we first ought to talk a little about what a testimony is. In the first place, it is not a feeling, although deep feelings may or may not accompany the expression of a testimony. A testimony is a witness given by the Holy Ghost of certain eternal truths. Among those truths frequently witnessed to by the Holy Ghost is the knowledge that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior and Redeemer of the world, and that He is the only begotten Son of God the Father; that the Church and Kingdom of God as established by the Savior during his mortal ministry has been restored to the earth again, and exists under the name of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; that to affect that restoration both the Father and the Son appeared in person to the boy, Joseph Smith, called him as a prophet and authorized and commissioned him to establish again on the earth the true and living Church which encompasses all of the necessary priesthood authority, ordinances, covenants and doctrine necessary for the eternal salvation of man.
Now as you well know depression is an illness that robs a person of self confidence and the idea of self worth and indeed makes life very difficult. You have indicated that those feelings of depression have caused you to diminish your activity in the Mormon Church, and to question some of the truths that have been revealed to you.
In considering your circumstance, there are some things that I think it would be well for you to recognize. Number one, you are among the very choice and elect spirits of God our Father. He knows your every thought. He loves you as the person you are more than any of us can comprehend. His undying love is not conditioned nor altered by how you feel about yourself. Your feelings are temporary, and they will change. His knowledge and love for you are unchanging, constant, eternal. He loves who you are!
Also, He has promised you certain marvelous blessings. Of course, his promised blessings are conditioned on your willingness to accept them. One, He has promised to forgive you of all the sins you ever commit, IF you repent of them. That simply means that we have to get over the things we do that we know are wrong–get them out of our lives, so that they are no longer a part of us. That is often not an easy thing to do, but it is the only way by which we can, step by step, better ourselves to become more like our Father. (By the way, depression is not a sin, it is an illness!!!) That process of repentance, by the way, is the activity of a lifetime–something that we should be continually chiseling away at. We should NEVER condemn ourselves for not being perfect at the moment. That just impedes our progress.
Another marvelous blessing is the promise in your patriarchal blessing that you will be married in the temple to a worthy bearer of the holy priesthood. Now that promise to you was made by the Eternal God of Heaven and Earth. All you have to do is to believe that indeed that promise came from God, and then keep yourself worthy to have a temple recommend at all times and to prepare yourself by frequently participating in the temple ordinances. Then just understand and know that despite how you may feel about yourself from time to time, God knows who you are and has plans for you that are marvelous beyond expression.