…and I don’t know how I feel about it (This was written before the decision, update below). Bizarre, I know.
I learned that my time requirement has been met and my application has been forwarded to the First Presidency for a decision. They will send a letter to my Stake President giving their ok for re-baptism. But as my title says, I’m not sure how to feel about it.
It could be because I was rejected twice so I don’t want to get my hopes up. The first time really hurt especially when they said I needed to wait 18 more months. But then I did say I would accept any decision that they made.
It could also be that I’ve been a non-member for so long and active in the church with callings, assignments and what-not that I think it’s going to be more of the same. While having callings as a non-member is a huge blessing to me (it’s given me more blessings that I can ever count), it also seems have its negative points.
Another reason could be because I’ve identified myself as an excommunicant that it’s become my “church identity.” I’ve not been shy about letting others know about my status; mainly to set the level of expectation but I also believe there’s a little of “I’m a bad boy” type of pride. It may also very well be that I like the attention that I get as a person working his way back into the fold. This church loves repenting folks and gives them all the support they need. I almost feel that once I’m baptized, I’ll switch from being the prodigal son (the one getting all the attention), to the son who never left (the one who got little attention). I’m not really sure how I’ll feel after baptism but however it is, I’ll deal with it.
But it could also very well be, as a friend pointed out, that “a watched pot never boils.” Those who are strictly focused on one goal to the point of anxiety never attain what they’re so worried about. I learned that when I was denied the first time. So now, I just sit and wait.
That is until this morning (update time)…
I received a call from my Stake President telling me that I’ve been cleared for re-baptism! HALLELUIAH!!! As I was on the phone with him, I had a wonderful feeling engulf and overwhelm me to the point that I had to tell the Stake President that I had to hang up, I was getting way to emotional to stay on the phone.
Wow! What a total 180 from what I felt just a few hours before.
So now I need to have a Bishops interview where we’ll set the date, a Stake President’s interview and then the baptism. It seems the first phase of my repentance and rehabilitation is close to coming to an end.
I called a friend to let him know and he reminded me of what I said to him once:
Friend: “What would be the one thing you would tell an addict?”
Me: “The gospel is very simple, don’t over-complicate it.”
As I was talking to him, it came to my mind that all I did was learn to stop being rebellious, learn to listen to the spirit and discipline myself to act on it. That’s it. Every struggle, every pain, every success and every spiritual experience is a result of the weakness of mortality and the “natural man” which is undisciplined and carnal. I had to learn to go beyond asking God for help to developing enough faith, trust and obedience that I would feel comfortable asking God to take the weakness and addictions away.
Everything I’ve been through in the past 9.5 years has trained me for that very result; learn to stop being rebellious, learn to listen to the spirit and discipline myself to act on it.
I may find out later that there’s more it, or that I’m off by a bit or a mile; that’s the nature of this being a journey. But for now, this is what I believe to be the truth.