(The following Exit Story was written together by Erik and Shaunalei Andersen)
I have joked with my wife the past few years that I must be a genetic freak since I was apparently born without a 'feeling the spirit' gene. I'm not sure what everybody else feels, but I never feel 'it.'
On my mission and as a single young adult member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, I prayed; I fasted; I read through all the standard works; I paid my tithing; I did my home teaching. The works. On a number of occasions, I recollected and repented of every sin I could possibly remember. I would go up into the mountains, kneel down before the lord, and weepingly offer to give up all my sins if I could only know him. I quoted all the scriptures I knew in which the lord promised to answer his children if they would only came unto him: 'Knock, and it shall be opened unto you,' etc. etc. I poured out my whole heart to God, pleading with every feeling in my heart, that he would answer me. Again, and again, and again. (It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.) The church claims Joseph Smith was wrong to keep pestering the Lord about giving Martin Harris the first 116 pages of the Book of Mormon, yet we are taught to keep going to the Lord endlessly to ask him to confirm the truth--rejecting every doubting thought or feeling—until receiving a witness (some positive feeling of the Spirit) which confirms to our heart the truthfulness of the gospel. I kept at it until I lost wind, finally concluding that I was defective and shouldn't expect an answer. Hiding my weak testimony from the girls I dated, however, I continued to hope and act as if the church was true (accepting callings, giving priesthood blessings, etc.), even without the reassurance I'd longed for. Once married, I also withheld it from my wife.
Click on the following link to read the rest of the Andersen's exit story: