I am a convert of 27 years and up until this last year have felt a wonderful peace and warmth from being a member. This last year I have lost the desire to attend church and feel an anger toward the leaders and their counsel. I feel as if they control my life and I’m not allowed to think on my own, I guess it also bothers me that women are to be led by men. I know we are told we women are equal to men but it doesn’t seem like it. Please help.
Let me ask you a question. Do you feel that your present perception of your church leaders in not allowing you to think on your own represents a difference in the way that you are being treated now as opposed to the prior 27 years of your membership in the church, or would you judge that this difference represents a change in attitude on your part? I would be very much surprised if you thought that your own attitude had not changed and that you are now being treated differently than you were before. The answer to that question defines the direction in which to mount an attack on the problem.
Let’s assume for the case of argument that you are aware that your own attitude has recently changed and the external environment has remained essentially the same. Now we must try to identify the reasons for such a change. What is different in your life now than it was a year ago? The first thing would be to feel that you are now being treated differently and other people are to blame for your feelings. But we have already ruled that out by the assumptions made above.
The only recourse would be to examine the reasons for your own feelings. After all, your feelings are never caused by an external environment. However, they may be influenced in different ways by given adverse environments depending on how you view them.
There is the story told of concentration camp prisoners during the Second World War. Those who, in those terrible circumstances, lived outside themselves and sacrificed much of the little that they had to help others worse off than themselves seemed to fare better than all the rest. They lost less weight, retained greater strength and mental alertness than the other prisoners. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, aptly put it this way.
Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:19-21).
So the matter is strictly up to you; you can feel angry or compassionate as you choose. But it would be well to try to identify the differences in your life that would cause a change from the wonderful peace and warmth that you felt earlier to your present troublesome attitude. I can only suggest that a critical, searching examination of your own life, and in particular perhaps, to any possible changes in your adherence to the principals of the gospel that you espouse. If one is living in strict accordance with the word of the Lord, the Holy Spirit would be her constant companion and she would feel the peace that the gospel brings. That appears to me to be a good starting point for the solution to your problem.